Dance fundraiser in memory of St Albans bodypopper

James Painting

James Painting - Credit: Archant

The friends and family of an “inspiring” dancer, who died suddenly from a brain tumour, are determined to keep his passion alive.

Former Beaumont School pupil James Painting, who lived on Nimrod Close, St Albans, was 31 when he was diagnosed last month - and died three weeks later.

He was very well known locally and in the London dance community for his “incredible” bodypopping talent.

In the short time between James’ diagnosis and death, his friends and family set up Jam4James, a dance project to raise money for the James Painting Foundation, which helps support dancers.

Jam4James has become popular on Facebook, with dancers tagging themselves and sharing videos to raise money. He taught at many London dance schools, including Pineapple, and in St Albans schools.

The first St Albans-based event is to be held on Saturday at a recently-opened dance studio where James was going to teach.

Owner of the new studio, Liana Wall, 29, of Sandridge Road, was an old school friend and colleague of James. The pair had studied, danced and worked together since attending school 15 years ago.

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She said: “Any nice words you can think of - that was James! He was very inspiring to many people.

“He was just incredible! He could do things with his body that nobody else could, which is what made him the best.”

James’ diagnosis and death coincided with the refurbishment and opening of Liana’s new business, All Saints Studios in St Albans Road.

Liana, who has owned dance studios since she was 16 years old, said: “He was due to be a regular partner here and teach at the studios and we were so excited about it. He suddenly got diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumour and died three weeks after.

“It was very weird and so sudden. Even two months ago, we were talking about it and he was going to do a street popping class for adults and kids.

“I was knocking down walls and crying. Then we opened and we miss him but we are going to carry on in his name.

“I have dedicated the studios to James. It’s given us a drive and a passion. He will always be part of this business and I want it to succeed for him.”

The fundraising event, organised by Liana and two of James’ other close friends, Chris Nicholls and Dave Ketley, will start at 9am at the purpose-built dance training studios, and is free of charge but donations are welcome.

Professional dance teachers will host classes all day, in street and modern dance, ballet and tap. Everyone is invited to turn up - to dance or watch.

Liana added: “He would fully support this. If there was an event that involved helping someone, he would have been the first person to sign up!

“I think that dance was his world and his life and everyone wants to keep his enthusiasm and passion alive.”

For further details visit or find ‘Jam4James St Albans’ on Facebook.