Vanessa Hooper, FIDTA, ARAD, is a retired English ballerina and theatre dancer who now works as a dance teacher, freelance choreographer, lecturer and examiner. She is the principal of the Skelton-Hooper School of Dance, which was founded by her mother, Vera Skelton.
Vanessa Hooper was born and raised in the city of Kingston upon Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. As a young child she attended classes at her mother's dance school, the Vera Skelton School of Dance. At 16, she was contracted to The Royal Ballet, a world renowned ballet company based at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. She was later contracted to Northern Ballet Theatre, a ballet and theatrical dance company based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, receiving a salary of just £27.33 despite being one of the company's principal dancers. After the death of her father, she was given leave from the company, but despite her contract being left open, she decided to resign permanently and returned to Hull, becoming a dance teacher working alongside her mother. She later returned to the theatre, making her West End theatre debut in a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.
After retiring from the professional theatre, Hooper returned to Hull, taking over the running of her mother's dance school, which became known as the Skelton Hooper School of Dance. She is a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA). As a member of the IDTA, she gained Fellowship status in all of the organisations theatre dance branches and was later appointed an examiner. Today, she is a member and former chairman of the IDTA technical committee for ballet. She also represents the organisation throughout the UK as an examiner, lecturer and teacher. Most recently she has become the resident dance expert for the television series Ladette to Lady
Hooper has been responsible for the early training of a number of professional dancers, particularly in the field of classical ballet.
- Suzanne Abbott-Lee - Graduate of Laine Theatre Arts. Currently a professional dancer and teacher and arts reporter for BBC Humberside
- Joseph Caley - Graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2005, promoted to First Artist in 2006, promoted to Soloist in 2007
- Elizabeth Harrod - Graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Former dancer with the Norwegian Ballet, currently First Artist with the Royal Ballet
- Jenny Murphy - Former dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet, currently Ballet Education Co-ordinator for the company
- Natalie Hewitt - Graduate of the Elmhurst School for Dance and Central School of Ballet. Currently a professional dancer working internationally
- Natasha Oughtred - Graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Former Soloist with the Royal Ballet. Joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2007, promoted to Principal dancer in 2009
- Demelza Parish - Graduate of the Royal Ballet School, currently a member of the Royal Ballet
- Xander Parish - Graduate of the Royal Ballet School, former dancer with the Royal Ballet, currently dancing with the Mariinsky Ballet
- The Royal Ballet
- Royal Ballet School
- Birmingham Royal Ballet
- Elmhurst School for Dance
- Northern Ballet Theatre
- International Dance Teachers Association
- Royal Academy of Dance