The building will be familiar to many and sits next to the Knaresborough Castle, Car Park.
I started dancing at the age of 3, from a local dance school in Knaresborough. I danced for my whole childhood in the area, and did a lot with the St Andrew’s Players.
When I was 18, I went to SLP, a college in Garfiorth, where I trained professionally. While I was there, I met Sam (Ellis) and after college we went our separate ways. Sam went abroad and did various performing jobs, and I moved to London. I was on the audition circuit, and did some small dance jobs, nothing major. Things like Footloose, Guys and Dolls, along with some corporate jobs.
Then I moved back to Knaresborough in 2010, and started teaching for a local stage school, but decided that I wanted to give it a go myself. I opened Freedom Performing Dance with an adult keep fit class, and many of the adults were saying that they thought their kids would like it.
I thought nowhere else in the area is doing street dance, so I will do street dance. 13 years on from there we have 340 students on the books, 43 classes are taught a week, with ballet, tap, jazz, acro. musical theatre and our elite competition team.
This gives additional space, and is currently having a lot of attention put to it with decorating and some building works
We have been hiring Aspin School since we opened, but have been looking at taking on another building in addition to Aspin. All of our classes that we currently take at Aspin will remain, and we will have an extra studio so that we can do private lessons, rehearsals, train our elite team, day time classes and build what we do even more.
It also gives a home for us, although as much as we love training from Aspin, we need that. The elite team have won so many trophies, but they just stay in a box, in a cupboard. There was nowhere to display them, for the kids to come and call their dance home.
We have been trying for years to find a more permanent base, we have gone to investors, we have gone to warehouse buildings, renovation buildings, this came out of nowhere, and has given us a stepping stone.
The main dance room
I don’t know who I would be without dance in my life, and you go above, and beyond because you just love it. It’s very hard to draw a line between it being a job, and it being your passion.
Dance is more than a job, it’s a way of life.