Oonagh Phelan - Founder and Principal, and teacher of all ballet classes
Bourn to Dance (which was originally called Bourn Ballet School), was founded in 2014 by Oonagh Phelan. Oonagh started dancing at age 3 at her mother’s ballet school, the Gwenda Grayson School of Dance. Oonagh’s mother trained at ArtsEd and was principal dancer in many West End shows in the 1940’s and 50’s. She even attended ballet classes alongside Margot Fonteyn!
Oonagh was brought up in a dance school, doing exams and shows and helping her mother with everything from administration to making posters and designing costumes! Oonagh loved dance but also loved acting, and obtained a BA (Hons) French and Drama. Although she’d decided not to become a professional dancer, Oonagh missed ballet terribly when at university, and went back to a regular ballet class through her twenties, as well as teaching some little ones ballet classes for her mother. Soon, she decided to go back to studying and qualify as a teacher with the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance.)
Having qualified, Oonagh opened her own dance school in Islington and ran it for ten years before moving to Cambridge and having two daughters. When her daughters were ready to learn to dance, she started Bourn Ballet School. The ISTD Modern Theatre dance classes were opened in January 2019 and Contemporary classes are opening in September 2020. The school is being renamed Bourn to Dance.
Oonagh has entered children for hundreds of ISTD ballet and modern exams with 100% pass rate and with a very high proportion of Distinction and Merit results.
As well as being a highly experienced ballet teacher, Oonagh had a successful career in book publishing in London, and worked as Manager to the Cambridge Angels business angel network. She now owns and runs the Cambridge franchise of Tiny Toes Ballet as well as running Bourn to Dance.
“Ellie has been going to Bourn ballet for several years now. The teaching is excellent and Oonagh really cares about the children doing the best they can. Ellie really enjoys it and she is in good hands!”
Ella Price - Modern Theatre Dance teacher
Ella began her training at the age of 3, at Hazelwood Dance Studios in Bury St Edmunds. She trained there for 15 years, studying ballet, tap and modern. During this time she also trained with a local contemporary based group from Dance East, and was part of a local youth choir called ‘The Voice Squad’. Ella spent her childhood and teens performing and dancing whenever she could!
At 18, Ella went to the University of Chichester Conservatoire, where she studied Musical Theatre, which gave her lots of performance and choreography opportunities with top industry professionals. After graduating she decided to continue her journey by qualifying to teach tap and modern with the ISTD.
Over the last couple of years, Ella has become a very busy dance teacher, now working for four different dance schools around Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, teaching a variety of styles. She is also now a qualified Exercise to Music instructor, Boogie Bounce instructor and Acrobatic Arts teacher, as well as having trained with Oonagh to become a Tiny Toes Ballet teacher! Ella teaches Tiny toes ballet to babies and toddlers, she also teaches the nursery ballet class at Hazelwood Studios in Bury St Edmunds where she started her dancing journey at the age of 3.
Ella says she loves her Thursday afternoons teaching modern, and is very proud of be part of the Bourn to Dance family.
Margherita Mugnai - Contemporary dance teacher
The Contemporary dance classes at Bourn to Dance will open in September 2020, taught by the wonderful Margherita. You won’t see any classes on the schedule just yet but they will be added over the summer!
Margherita began her studies in her native town of Forli, Italy, at the “Ateneo danza” school where she was educated in Cecchetti classical ballet as well as modern theatre and contemporary dance. She moved to London in 2013 where she graduated in contemporary dance with a (BA) First Honours Degree at Trinity Laban conservatoire of music and dance. Subsequently, she moved to Spain where she had the opportunity to deepen her professional experience by working as a dancer with the CaraBdanza dance company in Madrid. Here she also danced in performances such as The Nutcracker (contemporary version choreographed by Gonzalo Diaz) and Aimales de compania (choreographed by Jaime Urciuoli).
Throughout her years of studying, she has collaborated on projects ranging from working with the BBC to musicians and visual artists such as Luca Tarantino and Robert Moya.
Throughout her studies Margherita has taken on many different teaching roles in both Italy and the UK, teaching ballet, contemporary and modern dance as well as choreographing dance pieces and shows. She has recently completed a Foundation course in Dance movement psychotherapy at Goldsmiths University in London.
Margherita has also been interested in teaching dance to people with Parkinson’s and has been a volunteer for both the English National Ballet and Move into Wellbeing Dance for people with Parkinson’s programme since 2018.
One of Margherita’s current teaching roles is working for Oonagh, teaching Tiny Toes ballet in central Cambridge. She is looking forward to meeting our Bourn to Dance pupils and introducing them to the wonderfully expressive Contemporary dance.