15th April 2020
We caught up with Tina McDonald, Head of Music & Performing Arts at NSCG to chat about her career history, inspirations and advice for those entering the Performing Arts world...
Q: How did you get in to the Performing Arts?
A: At the age of 11, my young neighbour came home one day and started tap dancing in her driveway on an old wooden door her Dad had put down on the floor as he was doing some DIY. It looked like great fun and she asked If I wanted to go to a dance class with her the following week. I said ‘yes’ and from that moment, I fell in love! After then, I quickly started to have ballet, tap, modern and disco lessons and the rest is history!
Q: Did you go to Dance or Drama school? If so where and how were you trained?
A: Dancing was always a part-time hobby for me but I did audition for a place at the Royal Ballet School. At the time, I was just 15 and only had 4 years ballet training so just to get to the audition was a huge ordeal. After deciding that wasn’t the path for me, I did all of my subsequent dance training at the Marilyn Jones Dance Centre.
Q: Did you have support from family, going into theatre? Do you think this is important?
A: I danced 4 days a week for years and my Mum was very supportive in taking me to classes. Having the support of your family is essential. My Dad would always come to watch the yearly shows, although he fell asleep once!
Q: Who is your favourite dancer and why?
A; I love Darcy Bussell the ballerina, I think she’s just incredible!
Q: Tell us about your experiences before joining the College.
I have a Masters Degree in Business and Procurement and used to own ‘The Packing Company’ and have also worked as a freelance teacher at Mid Cheshire College as well as running my own Dance Academy, where I taught Gary Barlow’s daughter for two years! I obtained my teaching qualification from the International Teachers Dance Association and studied a foundation degree in Dance Performance and then topped it up to a BA in Dance Teaching and Performance.
Q: What makes a play or show for you and why?
A: I love a good musical, everything does it for me! Nowadays, I pay more attention to the lighting and effects to get inspiration for our own shows at the College.
Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I was running my packaging company and had always wanted to set up my own dance school. Because it was my company, I was able to run dance classes around school times and started to run classes 3 nights a week. I was approached by one of the pupils parents about whether or not I would be interested in teaching at a local college and so I started doing 3 hours a week teaching entry students performing arts classes.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
It’s a tough world and the wider your skillset, the better, so take every opportunity you can!
For more information on studying Music or Performing Arts with us here at NSCG, please visit https://nscg.ac.uk/study/course-departments/music-performing-arts.