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Rapper and dancer return to Leyton roots to a club called 'Ladders'

Rapper and dancer return to Leyton roots to a club called 'Ladders' which they say inspired them to take on careers in the arts industry

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A long-running arts and drama after-school club celebrated Black History Month as a school was visited by stage star alumni.

Rapper Jazz B Dennis, 22, from Leyton, and dancer Bismark Anobah, 29, Leyton, were inspired to pursue a career in the arts after honing their craft at ‘Ladders’ a club held at George Mitchell School. The pair made an emotional return last week to try to inspire young learners.

Rapper Jazz, who has supported N-Dubz and Jessie J, wrote his first song lyrics while at Ladders. He said: “Without the support I got here at George Mitchell and Ladders there is no way I would have had the confidence to pursue a career in the music industry.

“My career has developed a lot since I came here but I always remember it was here that it all began. I put my first lyrics down on page here.“I was given the belief that I could succeeded here.

Bismark Anobah studied at Brit School after leaving George Mitchell. He said: “Art, music and drama is so important to the personal development of young people.

“Yes, some will go on to pursue a career in the arts, like me and Jazz. But importantly many more will find a new side of themselves when they come here. “It will help build confidence and develop community relations.

Ladders, which gets funding from the National Lottery and Children in Need, has been running 22 years.Founder Stella East, 73, a former teacher at George Mitchell, still helps run the club.

Ms East, from Walthamstow, said: “I am so pleased Jazz and Bismark have come back to speak to the children. “It works because the kids who come here go onto be teachers, inspiring the next generation, and as a consequences become part of the community.”

The event also featured a play for Year Six pupils, an international fashion show, street dance and African drumming. Head teacher Saeed Hussain said: “The work Stella and the team here do is invaluable to our pupils. At George Mitchell we realise the importance of a holistic education and how an interest in the arts can complement academic subjects.”

For more information on Ladders call 07986 494 615.