BPM Dance Academy raises funds for revamp of new Haywards Heath studio

BPM Dance Academy has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to renovate its new studio in Haywards Heath.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 6:56 pm

Company directors Kat Chase and Luke Bohanna, 34, recently secured a South Road property near the Orchards and have some big plans for it.

But they are asking for £5,000 to help make these ideas for BPM’s permanent home a reality.

“At the moment it’s basically just an empty office space,” said Luke.

Luke Bohanna and Kat Chase at BPM Dance Academy's new Haywards Heath studio before refurbishments.
Luke Bohanna and Kat Chase at BPM Dance Academy's new Haywards Heath studio before refurbishments.

“We need to rip out all the flooring and put in specialised dance flooring and then we need to knock down partitioning to put mirrors in,” he said.

Kat and Luke, who both live in Cuckfield, also said they need to replace the ‘old fashioned’ lighting and convert the toilets into an office.

They are both qualified Acro Dance teachers, as well as teaching street dance and contemporary, so they plan to invest in an Acro pad (air track) too.

They said this will help them teach children to perform acrobatics properly when they start Acro classes in September.

“BPM is here to give opportunities to all children, no matter their age or ability, in Sussex,” said Kat, adding that the street dance academy lets everyone perform and learn in a fun and professional environment.

Children also learn skills like communication and teamwork, said Kat, and form long-term friendships in the process.

Kat and Luke both met at Warden Park in Haywards Heath when they were 12 and became friends during a school play.

They attended a Haywards Heath dance school, competing together for years before training at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London.

They then started BPM Dance Academy in April 2011 alongside their auditioning and focussed on it full time when it took off.

“I don’t feel any different,” said Luke, adding that the ten years have passed quickly.

But he said that many students have stayed with BPM for years and that it was rewarding to see children develop their skills from age five to 15.

Kat said that securing their own venue ‘had been a long time coming’ after years of hiring various venues in Bolnore, Cuckfield and Haywards Heath.

“I think it will really enhance the community spirit, having a place that all our students can call home,” she said, adding that the new building had a lot of light and a lot of potential.

“It’s been such a huge passion of ours to get the arts on the map,” she added.

“The arts contributes so much to children’s lives and their mental wellbeing.”

The duo said they had found the building during a ‘strange time’ in the Covid pandemic with some students leaving and dance classes going online during lockdown.

But Kat said they have received ‘an incredible amount of support’ from their current members and new ones.

And the fundraising campaign on www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bpmstudio has already raised more than £1,700.

“To be able to raise that much already is fantastic,” said Kat.