Sunderland dance school celebrates success

Dancers from Jessica Hall's Elite Dance in their refurbished Willmore Street studio.
Dancers from Jessica Hall's Elite Dance in their refurbished Willmore Street studio.

A Sunderland dance teacher who strives to bring out the best in her students is celebrating after seeing her young dancers go on to achieve great things.

Jessica Hall, who runs Elite Dace Studio on Willmore Street, has trained some fantastic dancers since opening her studio three years ago, aged just 21.

Dancers from Jessica Hall's Elite Dance in their refurbished Willmore Street studio.

Dancers from Jessica Hall's Elite Dance in their refurbished Willmore Street studio.

A dancer since the age of three, Jessica bought the studio, which is a former chapel hall in Willmore Street, from Muriel Harrison, who was Jessica’s first dance teacher.

The former St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy pupil trained at the Muriel Harrison School of Dance from the ages of three to nine years old, before joining Caren Lumsdale’s dance school, then Suzanne Stuart’s, both in South Shields.

An accomplished dancer, Jessica performed on the Sunderland Empire stage many times and held numerous titles including British modern champion and British ballet champion.

At 16, she won a three-year scholarship to the London Studio Centre and graduated with a degree before going on to open her own studio in 2014.

Now aged 24 the school is going from-strength-to-strength and recently underwent a refurbishment back in August, with the installation of new specialist flooring, and extension of the main studio space.

And Jessica, who provides training in all styles dance and performing art to children aged two to 18, couldn’t be prouder of see her students progress.

She said: “Since opening the school three years ago we have had so many highlights, with pupils going on to achieve a range of incredible titles.

“Standout achievements include two sell-out annual showcase performances and two consecutive years of successful exam results, with excellent feedback from examiners.

“We have also established a highly successful competition team, with competitors as young as three being awarded aggregate and adjudicator’s choice trophies.

“Dancers have also been singled out for outstanding performance in almost every workshop at ‘Can You Dance 2017’ event in Newcastle in May 2017.

“We have had a successful summer school with workshops from top West End performers and we have had a 100% pass rate on our Northern Counties exams in December as well as some amazing individual achievements as well.

“These include Emma Becke, 10, who was the runner up in the Junior British Modern Champion 2017 and also came fourth place in the Junior British Ballet Champion 2017.

“She was also the Northern Star Juvenile Modern Champion and the LA Supreme Championship winner, as well as achieving other titles.

“Former pupil Leah Cook is now training at top London college ‘Performers’ and young dancer Jorja Horner was the under 12 Beyond the Lights winner.”

The school is now getting set to perform at the Pure Bliss ‘African Barefoot Ball’ on Friday, February 2, at the Roker Hotel in Sunderland. The ball is also in memory of ITV’s Denise Robertson Foundation.