Derbyshire dance academy owner set to bring ballroom back

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Starry-eyed youngster Amy Heald had always dreamed of becoming a dancer when she grew up. 
But the ambitious 27-year-old didn’t stop there. Not only did she become a dancer, she has also set up her own academy in a bid to bring back the ballroom. Amy, of Alfreton, set up Stargaze Academy in 2013, with her sights set on sharing her experience and uniting the community. 
The determined dancer took over the site of the former Regal Rooms in the town, and renovated it until it was suitable to hold classes. 
She said: “Many people know of our premises from times past as it used to be Hill’s Restaurant – a function room where people would have birthdays or wedding celebrations. 
“The people of Alfreton speak with such fond memories of what is now my beautiful ballroom.

“After a touch of decorating and installing a new heating and electric system we were ready to open our doors to the public. Securing a studio with a beautiful wooden floor and its own car park was simply amazing – I couldn’t have ever dared to dream that far when I was a youngster.

“We think of Stargaze Dance Academy as one big dancing family where everyone is made to feel welcome and valued. A dance class can be so much more to people than just learning to dance. It gets people out of their homes and offers company and community. We really want to get as many people involved as possible.”

Amy is keen to share her experience – which she has a wealth of.

She started dancing aged ten and went on to have a successful examination and competitive career.

“I have been teaching dance for a decade now, taking my first qualification with the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) at just 17 years old.

“I continued to take professional exams and now hold a fellowship degree in the ballroom faculty, a licentiate degree in the freestyle faculty and I’m currently taking my fellowship degree in the Latin branch too.

“I also hold an associate degree in the classical and rock ‘n’ roll branches and a diploma in salsa dancing.

“My aim is to have finished all of the relevant dance teachers’ qualifications by September this year, which will enable me to apply to be an examiner for the IDTA – my last big dream.”

Stargaze Dance Academy offers both classes and private lessons for all ages both in the daytime and evenings, teaching ballroom, Latin, classical and modern sequence, alongside salsa and rock ‘n’ roll.

They also hold children’s classes on a Saturday morning and a weekly tea dance.

Amy said she has come along with, but has been supported on her journey to opening the school.

“Since the business has grown, I now have another teacher who works alongside me, Lauren Monks. She has great people skills and is a truly talented teacher. I am very pleased to have her on my team. My mother and father help me endlessly too – they supported me from my own very first dance lesson and continue to do everything they can to support me now. They can be found serving tea and coffee for the mums and dads every Saturday morning.

“I find my job so rewarding because dancing is my life. I love the idea that dancing brings people together and provides a place for so many people to be able to come and learn, have some fun and be sociable.

“I hope that 2016 continues to bring growth to the school and dancing into more people’s lives. I certainly couldn’t live without it!”

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