Wheathampstead Academy is dancing with joy

UNLIKELY bedfellows have come together to provide a popular dance academy with a new studio.

The Wheathampstead Dance Academy has joined forces with the Wheathampstead Club in Lower Luton Road to provide the new studio which was the subject of a grand opening on Sunday.

The dance academy had been operating from a number of smaller venues but needed more space because of demand.

A doorstop conversation between St Albans councillor Annie Brewster and Nicki Bowden, ex-professional ballet dancer and principal of the academy, resulted in an introduction to Matt Sample, the chairman of the social club.

In the following days investigations were made into the cost of putting down a sprung floor suitable for a dance studio in the club’s large function room.

But as the quotations were too high, Matt sourced a second-hand gym floor from an East London school with the club and the dance academy sharing the cost.

Matt and Nicki with another club member Mick Guy then fitted, sanded and polished each plank of wood in time for the start of the academy’s new term.

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A number of former pupils came to share the celebration of the opening, some of whom now dance with the Royal Ballet Company, the English National Ballet and in a variety of West End shows.

Among them was Olivia Cowley who is the first artist with the Royal Ballet and is currently starring as Natasha in Winter Dreams at Covent Garden.

Cllr Brewster said: “Wheathampstead is very fortunate to have such a successful dance academy led by the prodigiously-talented Nicki. Meeting some of her ex pupils and seeing the exceptional heights so many reached was an honour and a tremendous example for the young dancers receiving their exam certificates and cups today.”