Grantham dance academy moves into new studios after months of delay
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 the school’s principal, Michelle was hoping to open her new premises after Christmas, but lockdown meant that classes had to continue online for several months further.
Having been running classes for 20 years, the last decade of which hosted at St Anne’s Church Hall on Harrowby Road, the Elite Academy finally held their opening day at the new premises last Wednesday, with students eagerly arriving to take part in Easter workshops for two days.
Regular classes resumed on Saturday, with only adult classes left online until May 17, when indoor exercise groups are permitted.
Michelle said: “It was really good to both see all the children enjoying being back to face to face classes after such a long time on Zoom, but also seeing them come into the new building for the first time and they’re all really excited about that. It was lovely.
“With the exception of around seven weeks from the start of September, we’ve been online for a year now, so whilst that has been really good because it has kept children doing their dancing, it’s kept them fit and it’s kept them interested in it, but it’s not the same.
“Some children find it really difficult online and benefit from being in an actual classroom and some children haven’t been able to do it online for various reasons.”
Michelle had hopes to open by January. However, Covid-19 restrictions postponed the opening of the new studio.
She explained: “It had taken about 18 months already to sort the building out and we’d been doing building works up to Christmas with the hope of opening in January but it’s been closed since.
“It’s such a shame, I wanted to do a big opening and maybe get someone to come and open it, but in the end, it was best to open the doors.”
Michelle felt that the school had outgrown its former premises and wanted to create a space of her own.
She added: ““I wanted to have our own space that’s ours for a long time. [St Anne’s Church Hall] has been fabulous. We’ve been there for 10 years.
“It’s served its purpose for us but we’d outgrown it really. We needed two properly equipped studios and somewhere for parents to wait once they’re allowed to when restrictions are lifted.
“I want to make it more of a community hub really.”
With most classes taking place in the evenings, Michelle also noted that the studios would be available to other community groups at various times over the week and asked anyone interested to email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle said that the past 12 months have been “very challenging for the school” and she had concerns that, after investing money into the new studios, not enough students would return.
However, Michelle remains positive.
She said: “It should all work out. I’m positive about it but it has been a challenge.
“The students have been really good online. Parents have been really supportive.
“Hopefully, by the final term of this school year, things will be a bit more back to normal.”
The Elite Academy teaches classes in ballet, tap, modern, acrobatics, street dance, commercial dance and musical theatre and caters to all age groups from toddlers to adults. Information: www.elitedancegrantham.com