Jackie Mortimer and the Instep Dance Company have been synonymous for over 40 years, with thousands of young dancers from our area having learnt the benefits of and the love for dance with Jackie and her team.  The company is recognised for playing a major role in the development of community dance work in our area.

“Dance teaches teamwork, creativity, resilience and well-being, all transferable skills in any walk of life, and at Instep in particular it creates a family based on love” Jackie says.

Despite retiring from teaching 10 years ago, and reaching 70 next year, Jackie’s love of her art and her dancers shines through.


Back in 1980, Jackie taught PE (including dance) and English at what was St. Leonard’s Girls School, across the road from Brockhill Park School which was boys only.

As the girls left at 16 in those days, many wanted to continue dancing, so Jackie started a dance club, which was soon joined by girls from Southlands (now The Marsh Academy).

When St Leonard’s was amalgamated with Brockhill, dance was a compulsory subject – for the boys too.  “There was some resistance from the boys at first” Jackie admits, “but they soon came to appreciate the physicality and discipline of dance, and often started to like it more than PE.  For some it was also a place where they could get noticed for the right reasons, and this led to improvements in other academic areas too.”

Fast forward to 2022, and Instep boasts four flagship companies and four company groups as well as community classes.  Boomerang is for professional dancers, either with degrees in the subject or employed in dance.  The Mayakaras (Sanskrit for ‘makers of magic’) is for Year 10-13 dancers, the IIsanmaayas (meaning ‘little magic power’) is for dancers aged 10-17, and the Vivekamayas (meaning ‘magic wisdom’) is for adults, including members of 75 or 80.  Companies 1-4, 1 being the highest level, are for dancers of school age.  Boomerang works with Company 1 members to encourage their skills to flourish as they consider moving to university for a dance course.


Feel the need to get your dancing shoes on, or get the kids on the move?

Thursday evenings are community classes at Instep, held at Brockhill Park Performing Arts Academy which is in partnership with the company.  Dancers come from over 15 establishments to learn here – primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities.

Pre-school, Infants, Junior, Workshop and Street classes are all on offer for school age dancers, with no auditions required.  Demand is high, so there may be a waiting list.

Companies 1, 2, 3 and 4 are for more serious, committed dancers, and entry is by audition for 10-18 year olds.

All the dancers come together for a series of fantastic shows, at Christmas and in the summer, which is a chance for everyone to enjoy the work of other classes and celebrate their achievements.


We asked Jackie whether any one group was more difficult to work with than another.

“With the Pre-School group it can be like herding cats, that toddler attention span!  And with the Vivekamayas, who have the benefit of often extensive life experience, they question us – often rightly too!

“But we love them all” she says.  “It’s all about the relationships between us all, mutual respect, trust, warmth, nurturing and building forever friendships.”

Jackie Mortimer is the CEO and artistic director of Instep, while Sian Goss is executive director and general manager as well as teacher of dance at Brockhill Park Performing Arts College.  The whole dance teaching team at Brockhill get involved – many of them having been former students who have gone to university to study dance and come back to teach.

For more information, visit www.instepdance.co.uk.