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‘We Can Dance’ Support Abbey Hill

17th February 2016

A local charity ‘We Can Dance’ has supported Abbey Hill Academy for more than 10 years, paying for a qualified Dance Teacher to come into school each week. The charity operates on an entirely voluntary basis and raises funds for teachers to deliver Dance lessons in 10 schools within the North East.

At Abbey Hill Academy, the money from ‘We Can Dance’ pays for Gemma Thompson of Thornton’s Dance Academy, Middlesbrough to teach Dance each week to students at Key Stage 4 who have chosen Dance as their Option. Pupils study Dance for a year, having an hour dance lesson with Gemma each week, resulting in a nationally recognised exam from the ‘British Association of the Teachers of Dance’. Some students are able to gain Level one and some are able to achieve both Level one and two. The students also enjoy performing at events both in school and outside. The impact of having a professional Dance teacher coming into school each week is massive for our students. Gemma is an outstanding teacher and the students make fantastic progress regardless of their starting point.

Recently, the students have enjoyed a trip to Thornton’s Dance Academy studios in Middlesbrough where they were able to dance in a real studio which was a great, new opportunity for most.

On Thursday 11th February, Yvonne Nicholson who is chairperson for ‘We Can Dance’ visited Abbey Hill Academy accompanied by John Parker and John Thompson of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham. The chairperson and the Freemasons were keen to watch the Dance lesson in action and see how their funds are used to enhance the creativity in the lives of our young people. After the students performed their Dance skills, John Thompson proudly presented a cheque for £250 to Yvonne Nicholson. John Parker and one of his colleagues, Simon Atkinson, have also managed to secure a further £450 from the Masters of the Darlington Lodges which will assist to fund 36 more lessons for the young people with special needs in the North East.

Abbey Hill Academy would like to say a huge ‘Thank you’ to ‘We Can Dance’ for their continued support, and also to Durham Freemasons for their kind donations.

Rebecca Simmons

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