A NEW dance academy is opening at a St Albans school this month aimed at bridging the gap between studio and school.

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The Ryder Dance Academy (RDA) is being launched on February 20 at Francis Bacon School in Drakes Drive, St Albans, and is open to the whole community while providing professional training at a reasonable rate.

Classes are being offered in ballet, jazz and contemporary, open to any age group, and pre-dance for three to four year olds.

Francis Bacon’s current dance programme is run by well-qualified teacher Cristina De Simone who danced professionally in her home town of Toronto in Canada before moving to England in 2009.

Her commitment and drive has doubled the size of the dance studio at Francis Bacon and created two in-house dance companies for students.

She said: “It has always been my dream to be able to combine dance education and dance training in the same facility. I always thought there was a gap between students learning how to dance at their studios and the educational side. My goal is for RDA to bridge that gap.”

The new dance academy will focus on formal training but in a holistic fashion emphasising safe practice, creativity and performance skills alongside technical training. Initially it will run in 12-week sessions during term time with an open house day at the end of each term for families and friends to come and watch performances.

From September when the school becomes the Samuel Ryder Academy, the studio will operate as a fully-functional dance school with a year-end recital on a professional stage.

Registration takes place from 10am to 2pm this Saturday in the school sports hall and is open to all.

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