Freedom Performing Arts staged an amazing show on Saturday evening (6 August 2016), following a week long intense program of rehearsals.
The dance studio was setup by Amy Meikle in 2010 and has now grown to have over 250 kids training with them weekly on ballet, tap, jazz and theatre. They teach from Knaresborough, and each summer they run their summer dance school where 4 to 18 year old young dancers start on a Monday, learning 30 dance routines between them, before a full performance to the public.
Amy Meikle has worked incredibly hard, both with this business and in learning dance from a young age. Dance has been a life long passion for Amy. She managed to receive an opportunity to go to the SLP College in Leeds and on a full scholarship. A full scholarship is something that very few are offered and testament to both dedication and talent. Amy spent 3 years at SLP, often working at Marrigolds Café in Knaresborough to pay the bills, before graduating. She spent a short time in London attending casting calls, before taking the decision that London was not for her and returning to Harrogate to setup Freedom Performing Arts.
Supporting the week was Ashley Johnston, who travelled from London, Kayleigh James from Wales, Sam Ellis from Leeds and Emily Taylor from York. They each took a group a group of dancers to teach one of the many routines.
We also use the show to say goodbye to some of the senior dances and this year we see Megan Pollard, Tara Boyd and Lydia Chandler move on to other challenges.
I am really proud of them all and the hard work that they have put in over the years. Megan will be coming back to help cover my maternity leave, but while studying child behavioural sciences.
The dancers dub themselves the “Freedom Family” as they all help each other, especially the older students with the younger ones.
Kate Klippel is a parent and also helped during the week.
The children just become so excited and start practising the moves all the all time. You would think that after a day at the summer school they would be tired out, but they just come home really excited.
They all have 3 or 4 dances to learn over the week and they often have a bit of a wobble just before the show, getting a little nervous. But they all become really professional by the time of the show!
I find that the dance lessons are a really good discipline for children, help to keep them fit, and, for me, I like that it’s not all about passing exams at Freedom, they have a lot of fun too.
The week was hosted at Ashville College from the new 600 seat theatre, that was installed as part of their recent investment and new building works.
I really pleased with how the week has gone and have to say thanks to all the students for the work they put in and from the visiting teachers for the week.
Each year the dancers really deliver in a professional show that makes me really proud of them.
Photographs from the dress rehearsal