Dance school's work through lockdown recognised
A DANCE school which has adapted to the lockdown with online classes and workshops has won an industry award.
ROKH Dance, which has branches in Iron Acton, Frampton Cotterell, Wotton-under-Edge and Charfield, was named Dance Company of the Year award in the Corporate Livewire South West England Prestige Awards 2020/21.
The awards aim to recognize small and medium sized businesses which have shown they are the best in their market over.
The judges said they were "impressed with the team’s personal touch, consistency of reviews and community feel".
Kathryn Hurley originally started the company as the Kathryn Hurley Dance Academy, before joining forces with the Ruth Osborne School of Dancing to form ROKH Dance.
Together they are celebrating their combined 50th anniversary this year, and run 50 classes a week covering a range of dance styles and drama to people of all abilities from children aged two and a half to adults.
Kathryn said: “The feedback from the judges was really lovely, positive and encouraging. The passion for what we do really came across.
"It was a real boost after a tricky year and I dedicate the award to our amazing team of teachers, children and families that have supported us throughout this difficult time and continue to do so and keep going.”
Over the past year Kathryn has had to find ways to continue classes through the pandemic. During lockdowns she has moved from initially using online lessons, activities and workshops to teaching a full timetable of classes via live video.
Kathryn said: “Teaching online has been a massive learning curve for us all – teachers, students and families alike.
"Our youngsters are the forgotten heroes in the pandemic. The impact lockdown has had on our young students is huge. Their mental and physical health has been massively affected.
“We are hoping that trying to maintain a 'normal' timetable of classes, with additional workshops and 'social' Zoom meetings, provides support and some continuity to our students and their families.”
Students are still working towards exams, something which Kathryn feels is valuable now that academic exams have been cancelled. They are also hoping that an invitation to perform at Disneyland Paris, which was secured through a competitive auditioning process, will go ahead after being postponed from last summer.
Picture shows dancers from ROKH performing just before the first coronavirus lockdown