Staff in the Spotlight: Melanie Simms

December 16, 2020

At HSDC we have a number of highly-skilled, dedicated and passionate staff.

They go above and beyond to help our students reach their full potential. We want to shout about these integral members of our HSDC community, so every month we will be finding out about the people behind our teaching excellence with our ‘Staff in the Spotlight’ feature.

This month we are recognising Melanie Simms, who is Subject Leader for A Level Dance, Expressions Creative Arts and Dance and Teacher on the BTEC Performing Arts course at our Alton Campus.

How long have you worked at the College?

I have worked at the College since January 2020.

Why did you choose the subject that you teach?

I think it’s important to teach a subject that you love and I’ve always had a passion for Dance and enjoyed performing and competing in various styles from a young age, so it just seemed natural that I teach this subject. In September I became the tutor for the Expressions course which I think is fantastic; it provides students with opportunities to experience a range of creative subjects, develop their independence and confidence, and achieve an Arts Award!

What was your journey/training before coming to HSDC?

On completion of my BA (Hons) Dance and Culture Degree and my Master’s Degree in Dance Research, I completed my teaching qualification alongside teaching at degree level. When the opportunity came up to teach at HSDC Alton I couldn’t wait to embark on the next phase of my teaching career!

Do you practice the subject you teach outside of work?

Yes. I read and write a lot about Dance and its developments in my spare time.

What is the highlight of your role at HSDC?

There have been a few highlights for me this year, it’s hard to choose just one! It’s always a highlight when you see students enjoying the subject and nurturing their skills, particularly in such a creative and practical subject. I also enjoyed becoming subject tutor for the Expressions Creative Arts course and becoming an Arts Award Adviser. Recently we conducted two live streamed performances in one week which marked a great end to a successful first term!

What kind of careers have your students gone on to do?

Many students go on to further their Dance/Performing Arts training at conservatoires such as Laine Theatre Arts, Trinity Laban, and Bird College. Some students also go on to study at university. We also have previous students dancing on cruise ships and teaching in independent dance schools.

On completion of the Expressions course, many students have gone on to further education and supported internships.

What is something about your job that people don’t know?

The A Level Dance course involves lots of theory work, the course is 50% theory, so I spend a lot of time watching, reading and writing about Dance as well as dancing itself!

What three words would your students use to describe you?

Approachable, passionate and hardworking.

How do you relax outside of work?

I enjoy listening to music, walking and baking.