“ Address: St. Albans Road / St. Annes / Lancashire / FY8 1XD / Tel: 01253 724117 „
St Annes YMCA offers a wide range of services and activities but I am only reviewing The Performing Arts.
It is advertised on leaflets as 'Wyn Hodge YMCA Performing Arts Academy', this is because Wyn used to rent a room in the YMCA and teach dancing she then handed over her dance school to the YMCA about 5 years ago but still helps out and has a say over certain things.
My daughter first started a couple of classes around this handover stage when a professional dancer that had never before taught dancing (or so I am told) was appointed as head dance teacher. (co ordinator)
I have seen the academy grow over the years with the classes getting bigger and also more classes. The co-ordinator is excellent she understands the children (maybe as she has children herself) and speaks to them like people not just children. The children think she is great.
They have a wide range of classes so there are about 6 teachers that teach the children from age 2 through to adults.
All the dance and drama classes are structured to guide people through the IDTA and LAMDA exams.
******************** A quick summary of IDTA ***************
It stands for International Dance Teachers Association and is a leading dance teaching and examination board. It is one of the largest dance teaching organisations in the world.
IDTA is split into two branches - The Theatre Branch and The Ballroom Branch.
The Theatre Branch covers Classical Ballet, freestyle, Gymnastic Dance, Modern Jazz, Musical Theatre, Rythmic gymnastics, Tap and Theatre craft.
The Ballroom Branch covers Ballroom, Latin and Sequence Dance.
******************* A quick summary of LAMDA ****************
It stands for The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.. It is a leading British drama school in West London. It is also the oldest.
The YMCA Academy doesn't teach every dance going but it does teach a lot and also does cheerleading which seems to be quite popular at the moment.
The academy has set times for the classes that generally last 45 minutes although some adult classes last an hour.
The dancing starts on a Monday at 11am with freestyle for the little ones, I attend with my youngest, as she has been taking her older sister dancing since she was a baby and mithered to go; and I eventually gave in. The class is well structured and geared towards the young age that they are. They march and skip to warm up then pick apples to do a certain move etc. The teacher is really good although I can't understand why some mums keep taking their child as all they do is run round which then disrtacts the others.
I am not going to list all the classes it has. If you are interested then go to www.fyldecoastymca.org click on the tab for St. Annes YMCA then onto the class timetable where you will find the times for each class and the name of the person who takes it.
There are many dance schools in St Annes so why do I think the YMCA is great?
Well when we first moved into the area I was driving back to Manchester for my daughter to still go dancing, this went on for about 4 months until the school summer hoidays in which time she decided that she wanted to find a dance school near by. (at which time she was only doing ballet and tap) I found one and off we went one Saturday morning. When we arrived it was chaos, children were running from one class to another and there was a lot of them. My daughter took one look at this and said "I don't want to go". She was not a pushy child and did not have the confidence for this type of place. I tried talking to her but we ended up coming home. She said she still wanted to do dancing and a friend at school did ballet somewhere. So like the good mum I am I asked the childs mum where she went. It was the YMCA so off I took her to the next lesson, it was only a little class and it was just what my daughter wanted she then went on to join the tap class and now many more classes.
As more people of a similar age joined the classes she attended her confidence grew and now there is a group of them that are do the same classes so that's quite good as they are growing up together.
Another thing that helps the confidence is the dance shows that the academy put on. They put their own show on or sometimes join up with the Lytham Academy and at least once a year join in with The Hits that is on at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. The children love doing the shows and it just shows how much confidence they have. The shows are great and there is a lot of hard work put into them by the teachers and the performers.
The cost of each lesson is £4.10 which covers the lesson only; not the shoes they need or the dance wear. It also costs for each exam that is taken and the higher you go the more expensive these exams are. The cheapest I have paid is about £10.25 and the dearset up to now has been about £23. Any costumes that are needed for the shows also have to be bought so dancing can be quite expensive. On the plus side for children aged 4 to 15 they do a yearly membership which was £325 this year. The membership pays only for the dance classes which if they take a few it is well worth it although this has to be paid up front (not so good)
I think this school works as most of the dance classes aren't too big so at least they do learn, and they have a chance to get to know the teacher and the others in the class. This can make it more enjoyable than just going to a dance class.
My daughter is hoping to work her way through the dance exams and then go on to do the teachers exams so that she can become a dance teacher. Whether that will change or not I don't know but for now she is loving it and has lots of confidence.