Sally Sumner may be strict, but she believes it is the reason parents want their children to do ballet with her.


Sally Sumner was born in the Bahamas in 1958. Her father is half English and half Portuguese and her mother is English. She arrived in England in 1971.

Trained in classical ballet, modern, tap and character dance, she passed both IDTA Teaching Diplomas in Classical Ballet and Free Style Dance with distinction.

Sally Sumner performing during her international tour


Touring and performing around England and the rest of Europe, Middle East and Bahamas, Sally enjoyed a successful dancing career.

Having a strong classical ballet base, she loved her career as a dancer, often performing leading dance roles.

When asked, she names Cancan as one of her favourite dances.

In 2015 Sally founded The Ballet Academy of Weybridge, where she is the director, choreographer and teacher.

She is very accomplished and professional in what she does. Having trained in The Royal Academy of Dance Style it is very important to her that she is now a mutually recognized teacher for Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), as well as a Qualified IDTA Teacher.

Sally, thank you for taking your time to talk to us.

As a founder and director, can you please tell us a little bit more about The Ballet Academy of Weybridge and what is the academy’s strongest point?

Firstly, we teach children from ages of two and a half and upwards, all the way to adults, including an over 60s group. The strongest point is that we are a community and I include all ages and all aspects of the community.

We keep very high standards by entering children for exams.

I am very strict and this is the difference. There are many schools, but I am aiming to give a little bit more. I take a holistic approach to teaching. I am aiming to develop my children in mind and body. Children need to be given correct expectations and the belief that they can achieve. I feel it is important that they experience some kind of achievement in every class. I insist on ballet buns and correct uniform in class as this type of personal grooming sets a sense of purpose for the discipline that is about to be undertaken.

The range of personal goals in my current students is very broad. Some are naturally gifted dancers who I push to achieve their full potential, others require ballet excercises that will help to correct certain physical weaknesses, while some wish to improve deportment and build confidence. I enjoy the challenge of seeing that each child’s needs are fulfilled.

My favourite words when I am teaching the little ones are:” Do not give up.”, but You have to be very thoughtful of their little psychology. They have to be in a safe place to fail in order to be able to grow. Everyone must be allowed to fail in order to grow.

This is a very big part of it.

I always say:” This is a very tricky step. Now we are going to try our best.”

My favourite saying is:” You are almost there. You almost did it.” and we have big celebrations about:” Being almost there.”

This is what Sally tells us about her teaching ethos:

Self-awareness, confidence, self discipline and personal expression…In my experience these are the things that make children happy, and in the future, will make them happy adults. Instilling these attributes in our children is my first priority. “Ballet” is my method. If we can develop the above qualities then we should be able to aspire to be the best that we can be. I call this “excellence” and I have set down the values of the school to reflect this.

Sally organizes shows every second year.

My last show was called:” The Fairy Dream”. I wrote the story for it and did all the choreography and it was a very hard work, but it was thrilling to see it all come together.

It took place at the Addlestone Community Centre and every single child was a fairy, because you know, how can you tell one child they are going to be a fairy and the other no.

“The Fairy Dream” script and choreography by Sally Sumner, photography: Karl-Te-Aika

I was even handed about it. It worked very nicely.

Sally tells us that both children and adults took part in the show.

To find out how to book classes that are run throughout the year for children or adults go to: or call Sally on 078 81 38 48 33.

More about Your ballet classes:

Would you say that the discipline that you encourage towards dancing activities carry on into young and older pupils’ lives?

Absolutely, and I think this is well known and documented and that is why many parents are sending their children to me: for the discipline and you start young with that.

There are rules, there are ways to line up in the class, there is etiquette, there is a way to speak to the teacher, there is a way to speak to each other.

When they are on the diagonal they have to learn when there is a space to take their turn. There are all sorts of things to learn.

I do not allow them in the class if their hair is not done correctly.

I want to make it very clear, that I am very tough with them, but I am also very loving and at the end they come and jump on me.

They love their teacher.

Yes, and I love them, I love them.

I also like to use a strict voice with them, when I am teaching, because I am training them not to get too sensitive in later life.

It is delivered with love, but it is a strict voice and they know me, so they go past that and they cope quite well.

Sally, if money was not an object what would be your favourite project to do?

My favourite project would be to start an amateur ballet company in Weybridge.

With its own building?

Gosh, yes. I’d like the whole school to have its own building, and that is my dream.

Would you build from scratch?

Yes. If money was not an object I would have it all. State of the art, but at the moment if someone would just give me some land I’ll get a few porta cabins as studios on there and just get going, so I do not have to carry my ballet bars anymore.

Would you have a lot of peoples attending this beautiful school you would build?

I would have every single pupil in Weybridge, so we would not go anywhere else!

Reading time: 5 min

Slough new ice skating rink

Slough Ice Skating Arena, Berkshire, located in Montem Lane reopens on 16th of April, 2018.

The arena has gone through 11.2 million pounds make over.(1)

The building being build by Slough Urban Renewal received significant mechanical and electrical upgrading. Internally fixture and fittings as well as main facilities have been refurbished.

The completely rebuilt arena features a brand new extended ice facility and a new climbing centre, cafe, gym and new spectator seating area and new lighting.

On 28th of April there will be Grand Opening Day offering to the public free use of the new facilities.

” The day will be filled with figure ice skating shows, synchronised ice skating shows, hockey in the afternoon and disco on ice in the evening” said Sally from Montem Leisure Centre.

This amazing, beautiful and modern looking building is going to bring  lots of smiles to many faces of those who have already discovered ice skating and those who are about to do the discovery.

(1) source Sports & Leisure Management Ltd.

Reading time: 1 min

How one soap bar remained to be just a simple body soap and the other, the same type, has become my all-purpose bathroom cleaner, all-purpose kitchen cleaner, including cleaning oven and pans, floor cleaner and hand clothes washer.

Following the realisation,that plastic for packaging is not a good idea and that it is somehow painful seeing endless rows of plastic packaging in the majority of shops, I decided to do something about it.

First: I thought of going to replace my hygienic liquid soap in a plastic container. I went into my local Waitrose supermarket and looked for a simple soap bar. The rule was: it must be wrapped in a simple paper only and no cellophane paper. A simple Dove soap bar for 80p drew my attention. The look of its packaging satisfied my needs.

Then I noticed an organic Senspa one, that was packed in a colourful,  printed shiny paper, but no cellophane. I went for this one too – It costed me £3.95 per bar. Eventually I ended up with quite a few of those soap bars. My plastic bottle soap was successfully replaced by a soap bar.

Suddenly I had an idea to use the Dove bar to clean the sink and bath. I equipped myself with an abrasive sponge and an abrasive wire scrubber. Holding the soap in my left hand, I made it lather and then I transferred the lather onto the abrasive side of my cleaning sponge, that I held in my right hand. The amount of lather was enough. It worked. My bathroom wash basin and my bath looked sparkling clean.

The smell of the Dove soap was getting too intensive. Maybe I need an unperfumed one, I thought. I had to be happy with what I had got then and there, I reached out for the Organic Senspa soap bar. When I unwrapped it, the scent was exquisite. I did the same. I lathered the organic soap bar in my rubber gloved left hand and I transfered the lather onto the sponge that I held in my right hand. I started cleaning my small bathroom floor and tiles. Then the door was cleaned. Everything ended up looking sparkling clean and smelling exquisite. This is not enough, I want more I thought. I used the same soap bar to clean the PVC wooden floor in one of the bedrooms. From there I moved into the kitchen.

wondered: what I could clean here with a soap bar? The soap’s beautiful smell made it easier to go ahead with the concept. The thought that it is an organic soap bar and using it means no plastic made me go ahead. I started with the sink, followed by scrubbing pans and ended with the oven. I clearly noticed, that the stuff comes off much easier when some soap is applied.

Well, I did not dare to use the soap bar as a substitute for washing – up liquid, but I used it to make my own liquid soap. I have also used it to hand wash my clothes.

The soap used like that makes it go a long way.

I am now free from any new plastic bottles, that come with cleaning materials ,in my bathroom and my kitchen. I am now waiting for the delivery of my new shampoo soap bar, purchased online. If that works, then no more shampoos in plastic bottles. Yes, of course I use a soap bar for my body as well and yes it can be called:

my all – round beauty soap.

Reading time: 2 min

These are three reasons why we need to stop using most plastic products in our daily lives:

  • We know from scientists that a plastic pollution on a global scale causes havoc and damage to the environment. It harmfully affects human health, animal lives, life in the oceans and it pollutes air.
  • We also know, that we produce more  plastic, than we can dispose of. Some plastic is not biodegradable, while some takes a very long time to biodegrade. Therefore it either does not return to the soil or its return is not compatible with our life cycle.  The law of return to the soil is somehow broken.  The law states that:  ” The nutrients removed must be returned in the quantities taken away, in order to maintain a balanced ecological state and fertile soil”(1) or” Everything cycles back to its source”
  • The third reason is, that people in charge of producing and consumption of plastic are adults and adulthood comes with  levels of responsibility.

The intention of one of the first pioneers of plastic: John Wesley Hyatt in 1878 was a most noble one.(2) It was invented to replace ivory used for production of billiard balls.

Our daily consumption of plastic on a larger scale has only been for around 80 years.

It started in 1938 when polystyrene, strong plastic for practical use like cups, packaging, electrical appliances and so on, appeared.(2)

As adults we know, that however convenient a solution plastic is in our daily lives, it can not be used thoughtlessly because it cannot be adequately disposed off. The plastic produced in massive quantities accumulates and hangs around. It creates pollution and it damages life.

This friendly, colourful, convenient, sort of fun attractive material, our present practical plastic solution for daily use needs to be given up by us.

This is what we as adults know. A different, biodegradable material needs to replace plastic.

Some of the plastic products take as long as 100 years to return to the soil and another type take as long as 450 years. It is an easy conclusion: that a bottle that takes 450 years to biodegrade should be used for 450 years.

As adults we know that we need to seek a different, biodegradable material to replace plastic.

It appears to me, that nobody until now, from the inventors to the consumers even  scientists did not recognise the main property, role and function of plastic. I observe and clearly can see that the main role of plastic is: to last for many years and not, on the contrary, to be manufactured on a large scale , and then  used as single use disposable items.

By not discovering or naming a primary feature of plastic:the ability to last for many years, now we have wreaked havoc in nature.

How do we put it right? We can try to avoid buying products packed in plastic. We can choose more glass and tin packaging. We can appeal to our own local supermarkets to offer more products in environmental friendly wraps. We can limit the use of plastic in our homes, and place of work. There are a lot of daily ways that need to be changed.

Nowadays when we walk into a supermarket we are surrounded by plastic packaging.

Cleaning materials: are all packed in plastic, which creates waste and pollution at the end of the day.

Beauty care shelves are, not only full of non-organically grown products for cosmetics, but they are also mainly in plastic packaging.

Even organically grown products, that are meant for healthy eating, come to us packed in plastic.

We contradict ourselves, we talk’ health’ but we are outweighed by pollution and plastic.

To choose our Prime Minister, we need to do our research about the candidate first,then we, each individually make a decision. We vote and collectively majority wins.

With the environment, an adult individual consumer also needs to make a choice. The research has been done. We know, that plastic for a daily use is a costly mistake. The choice to avoid daily use of plastic is easy. The facts speak for themselves. It cannot be used. One needs to discipline oneself and give it up, go to the trouble to live with avoiding it or alternatively we need our last plastic bottle or plate to use for the next 450 years.

We live in a democracy, where a majority of voices make decisions. With the environmental issues, consumers can be producers and producers can be consumers and some can be just consumers, but we all are affected by pollution.

Democracy and freedom of choice does not mean freedom to slack and freedom to lose discipline that protects life , or to abandon adult’s levels of responsibility.

Plastic pollution does not mean everyone producing or using plastic is guilty, but I can see that we are all confused. Plastic is easily available, it is relatively cheap to produce and it is often pretty. It is there. We use it.

The use of plastic should be well managed. It should be reserved for special needs, like: medical and health sector or opticians.

To protect our living space, our lives and our health we need to consciously discipline ourselves and use our collective power of choice, it is needed now more than ever, in the fight to save and to live properly in the environment.

We need to be like a disciplined ballerina, like Dame Darcey Bussel, who said in her interview for Sunday Mirror about her New Year: 2018 resolution: ” I am also going to try to stop buying anything plastic.”



ref: (1) Sacred Economies, chapter 10,( Charles Eisenstein’s Homepage)

(2) Newsroom Ecology and Farm

Reading time: 4 min

My friend Joe, who suffers with severe leg injury, smokes regularly. For him everything about smoking is important. The way he takes his cigarette out of the box, or the way he rolls it up, the way he holds it, the way he inhales the smoke, the way he disposes of the cigarette, it all matters.

I gave up smoking naturally many years ago, so I do not smoke. Sometimes, however, (like once a year) I will try again, just to see how it goes.

This is what happened this time. Suddenly I wanted a cigarette. I picked one up and started to smoke it. As doing so I asked myself a question that never occurred in my head before, despite me being so concerned about the environment.

The question was: how much extra carbon dioxide goes into the air as the result of people smoking around the world?

I have made my research. There are many ways cigarette smoking harms the environment, but one of them is contributing more carbon dioxide in the air. It amounts to 2.6 billion kg into the air of CO2 (1) each year from smoking around the globe and about 5.2 billion of kg from methane (1), another greenhouse gas.

Every 300 cigarettes made use up 1 tree (1) while we can regrow in time only 1/3 of a tree to compensate for it.

There is a long list of harmful chemicals attached to each puff of a cigarette. There are 3900 of them in each cigarette; some of them are: nicotine, cyanide, ammonia, cadmium, acetone and arsenic.(1)

The polluted water with cigarettes ends causes damage to rivers, ponds and lakes life.

There is plenty of environmental pollution associated with growing non – organic tobacco for cigarettes as well as with eventually packing them.

By stopping smoking alone, we can spare so much carbon dioxide and other pollutants going in the air.

My dilemma is, for my friend Joe smoking is very important. The whole procedure and style required to go with it, it all matters. At least the way I see it.

I cannot help to notice, that despite me knowing about all the damaging effects of smoking on health of the smoker and those around, that at that smoking instance it appears to be helpful to the smoker. You can often see that person being content doing that. Calmed and engaged at the same time. Smoking often is done in place, where others would binge or eat.

For my friend Joe it is part of his daily life. It helps him to cope with the constant pain he experiences because of his leg injury and it helps him to forget about it while smoking.

I ask myself: shall I tell him how damaging smoking is, not only to health but also that smoking is a liability to the environment? Or shall I not spoil it for him, these momentary contentments and shall I just ask others to give it up?

Was it my last cigarette?










(1) Eluxe Magazine, ” 5 Ways Smoking Harms the Environment” by

Jody McCutcheon


Reading time: 2 min
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