A LONG-ESTABLISHED dance school is increasing its offering as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. 

Lucy Hudson, of Wylam, set up Feet First Dance 20 years ago as a dance school with a difference.

Rather than basing worth on exam results, Lucy wanted to create a school that was accessible, affordable and welcoming to all abilities and focused on performance work. 

Hexham Courant:

20 years on, Feet First Dance is set to become Feet First Arts Academy and will also offer drama, art and singing classes from September. It will also offer adult dance and fitness.

"September is looking a little bit crazy but I’m excited about it", said Lucy. "When you’re excited about the work you're going to undertake, it doesn’t feel like work.

“In 20 years, there have been loads of dance schools that have popped up around the area, which is brilliant, there's a place for all of us because we all offer different specialities but after 20 years, it's trying to do something a little bit different.

“So many art funds have been cut that there seems to be very little opportunity for students to explore those avenues. There's nothing really available.

"This'll offer a wealth of opportunity for new students who might want to do arts but are not interested in dance."

Feet First is based in Wylam with another hub in Stocksfield.

Lucy explained: "It’s the idea of building a community around dance. It’s like having a dance family.

"It’s about cultivating that spark in someone so they feel like they can take on the world no matter what - even if they're not the best in the class.

"I try my hardest to make sure everybody gets that moment to shine.

"It's that kind of ethos; you support and care for each other and help them (students) to grow into young, confident adults who feel like they can tackle different elements of life.

"A lot of the time, dance is something to do to enjoy themselves but we've had some girls go on and study in London who are now dancing in things like the Bodyguard."