Jacqui Ison was born in East London and from a young age learnt to sing and dance, later developing her skills in the voice, classical ballet, tap, national and modern theatre dance. Coming from a family which included Sir Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall, stars of stage and screen and Edward “Bonnie” Hampton, who along with Sam Wannamaker built the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; it was inevitable that Jacqui would carve a career within the theatre.
After winning a scholarship to train at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts under the personal guidance of Doreen Bird, Jacqui went on to perform professionally touring Europe and Africa. She later returned to the UK and undertook intensive studies in contemporary dance at Middlesex University under the leadership of Anne Went and Christopher Bannerman and a period of training at the Martha Graham School and the Alvin Ailey School in New York. Equally, Jacqui was fortunate to train with Professor Robert L. Reed one of the most respected rhythm tap performers and lecturers along with Bill Irwin, Sarah Reich, Ofer Ben, Avi Miller and Savion Glover in New York. After qualifying and gaining Registered Teacher and Diploma status in classical ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance Jacqui later attended Inspire, the Royal Ballet School’s inspirational professional development programme.
In 1993, she opened her own performing arts school and after a successful 26 years decided to pass on the leadership to pursue more creative projects. However, during that time she gained Fellowship status in modern theatre and tap from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and theatrecraft and tap from the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA), and the Diploma in Dance Education in imperial ballet, classical Greek and national dance from the ISTD.
Having graduated from Middlesex University with a first class BA Honours degree in Performing Arts, in February 2000 she launched her own contemporary dance company, Jacqui Ison Dance Company, with the support of Middlesex University, choreographing her first full length works Filiae Maestro Jerusalem, Syncopated Colours and Chromatic Fantasy, which were performed at the Rhodes Theatre, Hertfordshire. A selection of her academic papers were nominated for publication and her written work based on the Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance was selected for publication by the University.
"The best feeling is knowing that someone wants to watch your creation because they find it relatable, beautiful or inspirational."
Her training in European and World folk and national dance along with her depth of knowledge of countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have led to her becoming one of the country’s most sought after and respected teachers and choreographers. Jacqui has appeared with the Chinese state circus as part of the Beijing opera performance.
For over 35 years Jacqui has been involved in the competitive circuit gaining world-wide recognition for her choreography and in view of her contribution was appointed a British and International Federation adjudicator and then an adjudicator for All England Dance. She also adjudicates a variety of Championship, Miss Dance and Dance Master competitions.
Jacqui has had an extensive formal dance training and is very experienced in performance, artistic programming, choreography, and adjudication. Today, she spends time travelling and researching whilst experimenting and exploring new ideas.
Jacqui Ison Achievements & Awards