New dance studio opens at Hassocks school

Kathy O'Regan, Mark Wignall, Ella Fleetwood, Ruth Harding and pupils in the new dance studio
Kathy O'Regan, Mark Wignall, Ella Fleetwood, Ruth Harding and pupils in the new dance studio

Dance has become an integral part of the curriculum at Downlands Community School in Hassocks – so much so it has opened a dance studio.

The studio officially opened on May 11. Students from the school performed at the opening, along with community group Let’s Dance.

Ruth Harding and Ella Fleetwood cutting the ribbon at the opening

Ruth Harding and Ella Fleetwood cutting the ribbon at the opening

The facility is being used considerably by dance and community groups.

The appointment of specialist dance teacher Morvah Cull has also enabled youngsters to ‘thrive’ and enjoy participation in the subject.

Headteacher Mark Wignall said: “The successful completion of the dance studio is a fantastic example of Downlands working in partnership with its community to provide a much-needed resource both for students and people. It cements Downlands’ place at the heart of our community.”

Kathy O’Regan, centre manager for Freedom Leisure, added: “It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the space. The studio is regularly used for a number of classes from zumba to karate, from adult ballet to yoga and is proving very popular with our centre users.”

Funding for the dance studio came from the Downlands School Association, resident Ruth Harding, Freedom Leisure and National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund.

Mrs Harding’s children attended the school and her granddaughter is currently in Year 7.

The school said it was ‘extremely grateful’ for her ‘huge support’.

Mrs Harding cut the ribbon at the opening, along with West Sussex dancer and ‘exciting talent’ Ella Fleetwood.