Dance school fundraising to resume classes in a Covid-safe environment
Born and raised in the village of Thorney, outside Peterborough, Rebecca Thorpe realised the lack of activities for children in the village when growing up.
She sent up iDanceStudio dance school three years ago and has enjoyed teaching a varied age group of children since. They had their first performance at the Key theatre last year, 'which was a proud moment for Rebecca and her family'.
Her journey has not been without challenges and her family says ‘she has had to work twice as hard as others to get to where she is, due to some health issues.
Due to the lockdown rules, the 26-year-old had to close the studio between March and September. But after time and financial investment, the classes resumed for five weeks, before the second lockdown began in November, which was ‘disappointing’ for the group.
She is hopeful things will be back to normal again and is preparing to welcome her pupils back in a covid-safe environment. But it has not been easy.
Previously, Rebecca held her classes at the Thorney village hall which has remained closed due to the pandemic restrictions. She is grateful to the Thorney Rugby club for offering her space to continue her lessons. However, the space is not completely dance-friendly which has now prompted Rebecca to fundraise for a portable dance floor for the classes.
She has been working on a lockdown project and has created a canvas art piece measuring 60x80cm with Disney characters that is being raffled off and all the proceeds from it will go to the dance school.
Speaking to Peterborough Matters, Rebecca said: “I have had to remain closed between March and September. That’s a long time. After a lot of investment of time and money and effort, we opened again for five weeks for a second time during the November lockdown, which was very disappointing. Dance schools were one of the last places to reopen, so it has impacted us.
“I got some self-employment grants which have been put back into the business. But things will be challenging. The number of students has fallen and some have already said they might not return until next year. Fingers-crossed we are hoping for a safe return once the lockdown ends.
“We are currently based at the Thorney Rugby Club but I need portable dance floors for the lessons, that costs at least £600, so I am fundraising for it and have raffled an arts piece I have created. It has been well received so far.”
Rebecca said: “I first went to a dance class at the age of 12 and it grew on me. And then it became an 'every night' activity.
“I have a Btec in dance at college and was hoping to go to university but due to my ill health, I had to take a year off from dance. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and thyroid problems. Both of these lead to weight gain as well which has been challenging in my dance journey.
“But when I started teaching and set up my school, I wanted to give out a message- that you can follow your heart and dance irrespective of your health conditions or size.
“We had our first performance at the Key Theatre last June, which was a proud moment for us all. It was a proper show with costumes and make up.
“I am desperate to get back to the classes. I personally think these four weeks lockdown have been harder because we put in so much effort to resume classes and were made to shut again. So, that was disappointing. We spent £500 in making the premises safe for everyone with multiple equipment which is a big ask for a small business like mine, only to be told to shut again.
“But we are hopeful of returning in the next few days and continue until we break for Christmas.”
Her mum, Tracy who helps Rebecca with the admin work said: "To see the steps she has taken, to see where she has got to despite the challenges makes us very proud. Her students love her to bits and we are very happy to see her journey for which she has hard to work harder than others."
iDanceStudio holds lessons in a range of dance forms for children over the age of three and separate adult classes. More information can be found here.