A DUNFERMLINE dance school celebrated 30 eventful years – which included a marriage proposal!
The Dance Academy was opened in January 1992 by owner Louise McLauchlan and has brought girls and boys through the school ever since.
Louise, 53, first started to juggle dance lessons and working as a dancer.
She opened her school at Baldridgeburn Community Centre, with several satellite classes in the area, before moving to their current base at Limelight Studios around nine years ago.
“I was trained as a dancer, but I always loved teaching dance even as a young girl. I loved acting and I loved teaching – I was exceptionally lucky to have been able to do the two,” she said.
Louise said the school took off and they finally made the decision to centralize all classes in Dunfermline.
“My biggest and proudest thing is that I have daughters coming and coming back. They may leave to train or have children and then they come back and I still have students. who never left,” she said.
“Lynne Evans, my colleague, I taught her at Lumphinnans when she was nine. She became a dance assistant and went to get her diplomas.”
Many students continued to dance around the world after they left.
“I have a great track record of people doing it are so motivated because it’s such a difficult area to get into,” Louise said. “You have to really push it and have the thick skin and personality to keep going.”
Over the 30 years, a regular highlight has been the school shows which have taken place every 18 months since its inception.
An opportunity for classes – from toddlers to seniors – to show off their skills, the highlight event even included a successful marriage proposal! After agreeing to allow the romantic groom to pop the question, Louise admitted they needed to have a backup plan just in case.
“I asked if it was going to be a ‘yes’ – we had a backup plan as he was in front of a full audience,” she recalled. “If it was ‘yes’, there was a sign saying ‘She said yes’ and the other option was a ‘We’ll get back to you’ just in case.”
This year’s show is due to take place at the Lochgelly Center in September and Louise is hoping for no problems after already missing an event due to the pandemic.
“We missed a show last June, so my seniors who left had their last show stolen. The show should inspire kids to give them a taste of being on stage with lights, costumes and repetitions.”
Reaching the 30th anniversary milestone was particularly poignant for Louise after the battle to get through the last two years of the pandemic.
“I would say the school survived, but it took a hit,” she said. “The arts struggled. It was the first to be closed and the last to be allowed back. Then there were some very gray areas with restrictions.
“I learned to use Zoom but not everyone wanted to go online. Zoom is not a dance teaching platform because she doesn’t like music but we managed to make it so she’s the best she can be.”
Back in the swing of classes, Louise still loves life at The Dance Academy.
“What could be better than going dancing every day? she added. “The admin bit, I’m not a fan admin and I’ll never be an Alan Sugar but he can’t dance!”