Posted by: Laura Hammond
Thu 13th May 2021
After months of waiting and working online, young performers at the Harlequin School of Dance and Performing Arts have returned to their studio in Alfreton to do what they love the most – dancing.
Founded in 1999 by ex-professional contortionist and dancer Lauren Leam, Harlequin School of Dance and Performing Arts is home to 91 students, aged between three to 23 years old.
The school, which can be found above Boots on the High Street, has taken part in many community events over the years, including the annual Party in the Park festival and carnival held in Alfreton Park each September.
Dancers at the school study many genres of dance and performing arts including ballet, tap, modern jazz, acro, contemporary dance, commercial dance, musical theatre, and theatre craft.
Many of the dancers at Harlequin have competed and won a vast array of trophies in dance competitions in all genres. Multiple students have been nominated for and won bursary and scholarship awards too.
Most recently, one of the senior dancers at the school competed at the prestigious Manchester IDTA Theatre Awards and was crowned IDTA Ballet Winner 2020 – her application was one out of approximately 8,000 entries.
Many students have also gone on to be offered places at some of England’s top vocational training schools such as Tring Park, LIPPA, Performers & Laine Theatre Arts after their training at Harlequin, while others have become ambassadors for dance clothing companies and gained places on associate courses such as Ballet Boost and Denman Theatre Arts.
But it isn’t just about going on and pursuing dance later in life, lots of the students enrolled at Harlequin benefit from dancing in many different ways.
Charlotte Carradice, who has worked as a teacher at the school for 10 years and was once a student there herself, says that many of her students rely on dance as a way of keeping fit and socialising with their peers.
She believes dance gives young people an outlet and provides them with a platform to express themselves in a way that they might struggle with away from their dance lessons, whilst learning discipline and self-control.
“Turning up on time and in the correct uniform with a positive attitude to learn and work hard are skills that will help all of the dancers later in their lives, no matter what path they follow,” says Charlotte.
While Lauren, the principal of the school, says: “It’s not just about dancing at Harlequin – it’s about learning strong life lessons, forming the roots of commitment, dedication, teamwork and mindset! There is a proud sense of belonging and aspiring to be the ‘best you’ you can be!”
Each year the school invites audiences to a large performance, featuring all its students, to showcase their work to friends, family and members of the community.
Last year, because of Covid-19, the show was cancelled but students are looking forward to beginning rehearsals once again now that physical classes have resumed.
Throughout the lockdown, Harlequin continued to hold classes online to keep students engaged and fit during the coronavirus pandemic.
The staff at the school worked tirelessly to overcome the challenges that teaching virtually brought and to make sure the studios were safe and ready for when the students returned in April.
“Absolutely no doubt that the online lessons have been a lifeline for some of our students and parents during lockdown; the only constant in this strange new era…. it’s opened my eyes to so many positives but watching them all together again in the studio is unbeatable, it’s just fantastic!” said Lauren.
Harlequin School of Dance and Preforming Arts continues to welcome their young and ambitious students in to learn valuable life skills, whilst keeping fit and perfecting a beautiful talent.
You can find more information about Harlequin School of Dance and Performing Arts here: https://www.facebook.com/harlequinalfreton/
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