Dancing together again in Chichester
Young dancers are thrilled to be back in business, live and in the same room, at Chichester’s Rosemary Bell Academy of Dance
Rosemary said: “We have survived and we started back with a bang with two workshops. We had a ballerina workshop with a guest performer for our three to six-year-olds and a repertoire workshop with a guest teacher for our older dancers.
“The workshop was completely free of charge to all of our students as a way of thanking parents for supporting us all year and to say well done to our students for remaining committed to ballet. We got through on Zoom but it will never replace the interactions, community and joy being in class brings.”
The return to live classes after spending the majority of the past year dancing at home on Zoom was a significant moment: “We returned with a special event where a talented pre-professional ballet dancer came and performed for our little ones in full costume wearing a beautiful hand-made pancake tutu and pointe shoes. Our young dancers were completely enamoured with Molly Sloggett, aged 16, who came fourth in the Dance World Cup in Portugal. The performance showed the pupils what is possible if they continue with their classical ballet training.
“One of our dance parents said that her daughter Lexia Dallinger (six) couldn’t stop talking about the workshop afterwards and said ‘Mummy, she used to be just an ordinary girl like me.’ The dancers then worked very hard to do their absolute best, clearly inspired by the opportunity to meet, observe and talk to the ballerina.”
Rosemary added: “There have been highs and lows from the previous year. A highlight was squeezing in Royal Academy of Dance exams which were a risk to book with an imminent lockdown looming. Luckily they fell during a time when restrictions were lifted and our pupils were rewarded with their dance qualifications which are recognised by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) with higher grades recognised by UCAS when applying for University.
“Although having the platform Zoom has given us a practical way of continuing to train while socially distancing, nothing compares to being back in studio and the last few weeks have been an absolute dream. It has reignited our students passion for dance and those who were struggling on Zoom have now returned and remembered why they love to dance. To enjoy a shared experience together has been wonderful and there is life and laughter in our classes once more. Just yesterday one of my groups had finished and as I started teaching my next class I could hear the pupils laughing and playing outside the hall. It was so lovely to hear that sound again which was non-existent on Zoom. Within our school our pupils have formed life-long friendships, as have the parents. We are not just a ballet school but a community who share a passion for dance which brings together families and offers a much-needed hobby and outlet for our dancers.
“We are beginning to feel really positive again about future prospects and have re-booked our cancelled annual show at the Alexandra Theatre, which will take place in November of this year. Continuing on Zoom saved our small business but being back has made us all the more grateful for the wonderful community that has been created through the Rosemary Bell Academy of Dance.”