Stuart’s contemporary classes are a reflection of his eclectic and varied dance history. He began his dance career on the London club scene, an element present in his classes through his raw passion for movement. His formal dance training is based on the teachings of dance legends Martha Graham, whose graceful yet rigorous floor-work is employed in the class warm-up, and Alvin Ailey, whose spirit and joy for dance permeate the final choreography that students practise at the end of each lesson. More recently, Stuart has become an advanced practitioner of Tai Chi and draws on the ancient technique’s fluidity and smoothness to ensure that students not only learn but also understand the dynamics of the phrases they are taught during the warm-up and in the final choreography. Essentially, Stuart’s aim as a teacher is to show his students how to move through space, and using his unique sense of humour he endeavours to guide each individual so that they are able to overcome their inhibitions and exploit their body’s relationship with movement.
Read what students think of Stuart Thomas’ classes:
“Great teacher! If you haven’t had a class with him yet, you must…..AMAZING!” – Flipside Dance Schoool
Stuart has been inspired by and explored how Martial Arts and dance integrate for over 20 years. He is a teacher of Contemporary Dance as well as second generation Soul Jazz and his teaching follows the road of ‘old school’ to progressive styles, creating his own unique style of Martial Dance Fusion.
A London native, Stuart began his formal dance career with Union Dance Company. He was intuitively drawn into dance upon discovering that its focus on strength and grace in movement helped him decipher the anatomical machinations of the body.
In his twenties he embarked upon a journey to train in Tai Chi, which culminated in his earning a rank of Group A Instructor from the Canton Martial Committee. He often travels between London and South China to enhance his knowledge of the technique. Stuart is now also a highly sought after instructor of Dance and Tai Chi fist – two of the most practiced Martial Arts and Dance forms and is a specialist in Graham-based technique.
He has danced and taught in the UK, Europe and the US and also performs in theatrical dance pieces.
Read here about Stuart’s Tai Chi training:
I’ll never forget dancing with jiving lindy hoppers during the Harvest Moon ball at the Southbank many years ago. If you don’t know lindy hop, watch the film Hellzapoppin’. There’s a dance section in there by Frankie Manning who invented the lindy hop. If you see it, you’ll say, “Yeah, I get it.”
My favourite composers are Charles Ives, Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, and Bach. I have a love-hate relationship with music. When I was a young dancer, I’d come home and stay up playing music and practising. Now I have to put the TV on or my brain just keeps ticking. I watch a lot of Emmerdale.
I travel to China every year to study tui na massage. I stay in Hangzhou. My favourite thing is waking up at dawn and heading to the park where all the older people do tai chi. There’s a feeling everybody’s healing themselves; it’s amazing. Afterwards, I’ll go to a cafe and buy this omelette-type delicacy filled with sweet syrup. Oh man, it’s good.
You have to visit Madeira and Cape Verde. Madeira is like a huge Kew Gardens, it’s so beautiful. And Cape Verde – the sand on the beach is white, white, white and the sea is blue, blue, blue. I’m thinking about it now and I’m falling in love again.
Interview by Becky Barnicoat, The Guardian. Read article here.
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