Victoria Cooper Jones has been the principal of Razzamataz Queens Park since 2017 and took over the Belsize Park branch in 2019
I trained as a professional ballet dancer at the Arts Educational School and Central School of Ballet. I then danced with the Boston Ballet, the Houston Ballet and the Ballet Nationale de Marseille until injury forced me to retrain at the Chelsea School of Art where I went on to become an interior designer. Although I had a successful business, it was when I started to teach dance for fun that I realised that my true passion lay in the performing arts.
My sister has a film and media franchise and she advised me that this would be the best route to follow. An email from Razzamataz landed in her inbox and she immediately said that she thought it would be a good fit for me. The team were very quick to respond to me and I attended the next available Discovery Den, where I could learn more.
Worries or concerns
Not really. The fact that I was investing in a franchise was very reassuring and I understood that if you worked within the guidelines then you would be successful. I felt it was far better than trying to do it alone.
Start of your journey
The initial year went by so quickly. The training was great, insightful, and full-on. Running up to launch, it was very reassuring to have regular one-to-one phone calls with my support mentor and to be guided through the whole process. On the launch day, I had at least 80 per cent of the children sign up and it grew quickly from there.
I try to structure my week to do certain tasks each day. Most Monday mornings, I have off to catch up with home stuff and general life admin. It’s very flexible but there is always something to do, and it is always exciting.
Questions for the franchisor
It’s really important to understand what the network is like and if you get together for events, training and other activities. I love the fact that we are such a friendly network and there are WhatsApp group chats to keep you motivated. It’s lovely to know that if you have a question, you are only a text away from getting that answer from the head office or the other franchisees. Although we are all very different people from very different backgrounds, we all get on so well and are very supportive of each other.
Make sure this is what you want to do as you have to give 100 per cent of yourself. Trust yourself and put in the work and you will reap the benefits. When you are successful and you see the children flourishing and your school growing, it is just a wonderful feeling.
Highlights and rewards
Taking the students to perform at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End was awesome and I can’t wait to introduce this opportunity to the Belsize Park students with our next head office event at the Shaftesbury Theatre. On a personal level, I really value the friendships I have made within the Razzamataz network and getting up on a Saturday morning knowing what a fun day I have in front of me.
Looking to the future
I want Razzamataz Belsize Park to be the school to come to in North West London. It is important that we are building a reputation of excellence in performing arts training combined with providing a safe and fun place where young people can build the confidence needed to navigate the challenges in life. On a personal level, I plan on taking my two teenage children on a long tour of South East Asia.