A Grantham dance academy has finally been able to move into its new premises.
The Elite Academy of Dance, owned by Michelle Bates, was able to open its new studio on Greyfriars last week.
Also headmistress of the school, Michelle had hoped to open her new premises after Christmas, but the lockdown meant lessons had to continue online for several more months.
After holding classes for 20 years, including the last decade at St Anne’s Church Hall on Harrowby Road, the Elite Academy finally held its opening day at the new premises last Wednesday, with students eagerly arriving to participate in Easter workshops for two days.
Regular classes resumed on Saturday, with only adult classes remaining online until May 17, when indoor exercise groups are allowed.
Michelle said, “It was really good to see all the kids enjoying face-to-face lessons after such a long time on Zoom, but also to see them walk into the new building for the first time and they’re all really excited. about that. It was lovely.
“Except for about seven weeks from the start of September, we’ve been online for a year now, so while it’s been really good because it’s kept the kids dancing, it’s kept them going. shape and got them interested in it, but it’s not the same.
“Some kids find it very difficult online and benefit from being in a real classroom and some kids haven’t been able to make it online for various reasons.”
Michelle hoped to open by January. However, Covid-19 restrictions have postponed the opening of the new studio.
She explained: ‘It had already taken about 18 months to sort the building out and we had been doing construction until Christmas hoping to open in January, but it has since been closed.
“It’s such a shame, I wanted to do a big opening and maybe someone come and open it, but in the end it was better to open the doors.”
Michelle felt that the school had outgrown its old premises and wanted to create her own space.
She added, “”I wanted to have our own space that has been ours for a long time. [St Anne’s Church Hall] has been fabulous. We have been there for 10 years.
“He achieved his goal for us, but we really exceeded him. We needed two properly equipped studios and a place for parents to wait once they are allowed in when restrictions are lifted.
“I really want to make it more of a community center.”
With most classes taking place in the evening, Michelle also noted that the studios would be available for other community groups at various times throughout the week and asked anyone interested to email: [email protected] com
Michelle said the past 12 months have been “very difficult for the school” and she was concerned that after investing money in the new studios there might not be enough returning students.
However, Michelle remains positive.
She said, “Everything should work out. I’m positive about it, but it’s been a challenge.
“The students have been really good online. The parents really supported me.
“Hopefully by the last term of this school year things will be a bit more normal.”
The Elite Academy teaches classes in ballet, tap, modern dance, acrobatics, street dancing, commercial dance and musical theater and caters to all age groups, from toddlers to adults. Information: www.elitedancegrantham.com