An established Doncaster-based dance academy has been transformed after 24 years thanks to a loan from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF).
Dance teacher Claire Anderson founded the School of Theatre Dance 24 years ago and has achieved the highest fellowship status amongst the International Dance Teachers Association.
Claire has been teaching dance for 28 years and offers lessons in ballet, tap, theatre craft, modern jazz, freestyle and gymnastic dance. After seeing a huge rise in her most popular client base of school children, she approached BEF for funding to help buy property allowing her to expand the dance space and plan for recruitment.
Of the expansion, Claire said: “We often had to move premises due to lack of space, however the loan has allowed us to buy our previously rented property which gives us a permanent presence.
“It’s really exciting to be able to grow my client base – I started with seven students which has now built up to 180! Dance is incredibly popular with young people at the moment due to its diverse nature and creativity and it’s spectacular to share my childhood passion with so many students. According to recent research, dancing has a positive effect on quality of life, body image, mood and anxiety ; which is why it is great to see so many young students involved.”
The Business Enterprise Fund is a social enterprise specialising in providing funding and advice to businesses across the North, which are making positive changes within their local communities.
“The support from BEF allowed us to double our floor space; meaning we can offer more classes and hire my daughter as another full-time teacher. It’s also enabled us to expand our offering by adding drama to our curriculum. Jeremy and the team at BEF have been fantastic throughout the process and I wouldn’t have got a mortgage without their tremendous help.”
Jeremy Meadowcroft, investment manager at BEF, said: “It’s terrific to see the undeniable passion Claire puts into the dance school. Her commitment to the community and impressive enthusiasm for dancing is outstanding. Claire has identified a growing client base within the market and with dance being as important as it is to young people’s quality of life, we’re thrilled to see how our loan has allowed her to develop the business.”