Updated: Jan 14
A lot of love has been poured into this, so we hope you love it as much as we do.
I (Miss Zoe) thought I would start our newsfeed on a more personal level and give you an insight as to where Harwood Dance really came from.
In 1988 Miss Sara returned to Cheltenham as a single Mumma of two. Dance had always been at the forefront of her life so she wasn’t about to leave it in Cornwall!
She started with a Friday night tap class with some close friends and friends-of-friends. Word got around and she started up another class and eventually she was holding five adult Tap classes a week! The group were called Leckhampton Tappers!
Sara then decided to start children’s dance classes purely for a fun, after-school activity and named the classes Dance For Fun. After a few years, she passed the reigns onto her daughter, (me!)..
I have been dancing since the age of three, training in Ballet, Modern and Tap. I took part in numerous dance festivals over the years bringing home many medals. I loved dancing on stage and started Panto with Leckhampton Players from he age of six. At the age of 10 I joined CODS and performed in Gigi at the Playhouse. That was the beginning of my musical theatre journey and its never ended! Various other interests overtook during the mid teen years but in my late teens, the passion for dance returned.
At the age of 21 I went to a Dance Centre and studied my ISTD teaching qualifications and a few years later continued my studies in Swindon to the next level.
During the early years of training I had a mentor who had a huge influence on my life. This person imparted more wisdom in dance than I could have hoped for and the depth of their knowledge was never ending! However, this same mentor always took their emotions and ‘bad days’ out on me and other students. It was an awful feeling each week not knowing what mood they would be in, but having that thirst of wanting to learn more. This was ultimately the biggest life lesson for me - I vowed never treat anyone unfairly, and always be kind no matter what is going on in my own life. I would never want any of my students to feel dread at coming to dancing. My aim has always been for this to be a safe space where we can not only teach but also nurture these children through a confident and empowering childhood.
My experience made me stronger and more determined than I thought I could be.
Finding teachers to carry this same ethos has been equally as important (and, at times, challenging). I grew up with Miss Becky in school and in the dance world. She was an obvious choice for our next teacher. Miss Lily is an alumna of Harwood Dance and way beyond her years in maturity and dance knowledge. Liz came for a trial teaching lesson and I knew immediately she fit in with us - she was kind and encouraging to the students. Finally I trained with Miss Anya and knew I’d love her to be part of our faculty. We are now currently looking for another teacher to join us at Harwood Dance and we will continue to search for talent as well as our beliefs!
We always have and always will treat every child holistically; the whole child is nurtured, encouraged and trained.
That’s why we are different to any other dance school, and we are so proud of who we are and what we represent.