Step Up. Lisa Scott-Lee, member of UK pop-sensation Steps, with her students at Dubai Performing Arts Academy at the Lakes in Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS

Dubai: “I can’t remember seeing anyone bigger coming to town to teach our kids how to dance and sing the way they did,” said Ally, barely able to contain her excitement, after the three-hour dance-drama-singing class for her three daughters.

Like hundreds present, the British school teacher knew she had enough reasons to be excited about the new Dubai Performing Arts Academy that launched on September 6 at the Lakes Fitness First centre. To her it wasn’t just any other performing arts academy but one founded by none other than a real pop star couple - Lisa Scott-Lee, a member of UK pop-sensation Steps, and her dancer husband Johnny Shentall.

“We had been talking about creating the Dubai Performing Arts Academy for over a year now and here we are finally with the first of its kind academy in the GCC right here in Dubai that brings together dance, singing and drama, the three core performing arts disciplines,” said Lisa, finishing her first trial class for children between 4 and 18.

Shake a leg

Not just the mums and dads, the duo had clearly worked their magic over the kids as well in just over three hours that Saturday afternoon.

“I can’t believe I could perform alongside them the way I did,” gushed Olivia, a British ninth grader at the Wellington International School in Al Sufouh. She and her Aussie friend, Sophie, a fellow ninth grader from the GEMS World Academy school, were among the 150-odd participants that had begun lining up from 10am for a chance to shake a leg or two and strain a few vocal cords with the celebrity couple.

“That’s exactly what we had wanted to see,” says Lisa’s husband Johnny, a former singer-turned-professional dancer who has worked with the likes of Robbie Williams and Diana Ross whilst also starring on London’s West End.

“We want to recreate a bit of that magic and see all of them perform like real all-rounders,” adds the man from Yorkshire.

“Currently children with ambition to be on stage or be the next big music sensation would have to travel to the UK or US to get access to this level of training, but not anymore,” says Lisa, the academy’s co-founder and principal.

“We have two young children ourselves and we have built the academy using experience as both performers and parents,” adds Lisa, Welsh but who is now ready to call Dubai her home.

The Dubai Performing Arts Academy will be based at Fitness First at The Lakes (Sunday 4pm, Monday and Wednesday 3.30pm, Friday noon-3pm) and The Meadows Community Clubs (every Saturday 10am-1pm).

To know more about the academy, go to www.dubaiperformingarts.com