Young Richmond dancers pass exams despite lockdown

From left, Annabel and Ellen Stewart.

Two young dancers have passed their exams despite having to train at home due to the pandemic.

Annabel and Ellen Stewart, from Richmond,  trained continuously through both lockdowns with the Janet Seymour School of Theatre Dance and were successful in their examinations, filmed for the Royal Academy of Dance in between the two lockdowns at The Nash in Hawes.

Annabel took Grade 4 and Ellen Grade 5.

Janet said: “I am so impressed at how conscientious the girls were with limited space to practise at home and only one practise at the exam venue beforehand.

“Many thanks to Emily Rowe-Rawlence at The Nash for providing us with a safe and Covid-secure environment to film the exams.

Mum Lorna Stewart said: “We are so grateful to Janet Seymour and her assistant teacher, Hannah Smith for keeping dance lessons going virtually throughout lockdown.

“The chance to focus on learning new steps/dances, enjoy dancing for its own sake and keep connected with fellow dance students and teachers who have been part of their lives for years has been invaluable.

“It has given them some normality in such a time of uncertainty and worry.

“Mrs Seymour is living proof that where there’s a will there’s a way. She always goes above and beyond for all her students, who are scattered all over the dales.

“The girls’ exams were taken in an empty hall, performing for a video camera. The mantelpiece has become a ballet barre and our dog would join in lessons given half a chance.

“We look forward to dance returning to normal. But in the meantime we embrace dancing in the sitting room with their lovely dance family.”

The School of Theatre Dance have continued classes since the beginning of the pandemic and have been able to prepare students for graded and vocational examinations in modern dance, tap and ballet.

The latest exams were successfully completed one day before the latest lockdown started.