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Please contact Natalie Hume for more information.
01 Oct 2013

– Heald Green school to open a second dance division

Step Ahead dance school in Heald Green is set to open a second division at a brand new dance studio at the Hockley Centre in Poynton and is inviting all budding ballerinas, tantalising tappers and slick street dancers to their open day on 6th June 2009.

The new opening follows a recent increase in numbers at the school that the current venue is struggling to handle.

NATD and RAD registered Principal of Step Ahead Natalie Bates said: “I am really pleased that the school has experienced such growth since I became Principal in 2006 and to be opening a second location is a great success.”

“Opening another branch means that my staff and I can teach to a wider range of pupils and reduce class sizes,” she continued.

The open day will be held at The Hockley Centre in Poynton on Saturday 6th June from 10:00am until 4:00pm and the day’s programme will include a show case from current Step Ahead students.

To book a place, please contact Natalie Bates on 077996 14260 or email


01 Oct 2013

Trophies all around for Step Ahead dancers

Step Ahead had a number of wins at the last two festivals we participated in. To name a few, in June, Jessica Thurston, 10 was awarded 1st place for her ballet, character, tap and musical comedy solos. Laura Kay, 9 was awarded 1st place for her character, song and dance and 2nd place for her national solo. At the festival in September, seven trophies were awarded to various candidates for high marks in tap, national, song and dance, Greek and ballet.

Some Step Ahead pupils participate in dance competitions, or ‘festivals’, across the north west. Each competitor has a repertoire of solos – a ballet dance, a tap dance, and so on – and then performs these dances in front of an adjudicator, competing against dancers from other schools. The sections are divided into age groups, from ‘babies’ up to eighteen year olds.

Festivals are a fantastic opportunity to develop pupils’ confidence and ability to perform in front of an audience. It is also interesting to observe styles of choreography from other schools, encouraging a healthy but challenging sense of competition and showmanship in the dancers.

The adjudicator selects four competitors as first, second, third and fourth places. These are the ‘winners’ of the section. Obviously you can’t win all the time, but importantly this develops character in the dancer – and teaches them how to lose as well as win with dignity.

We hope our competitiors maintain the high standard of performance and technique that has been set, and continue to represent Step Ahead so professionally and successfully.

01 Oct 2013

Grease is the word at Heald Green Festival 2008

Step Ahead dance school brightened up the tenth annual Heald Green festival at the village hall field with their performance from the smash hit musical ‘Grease’.

The younger girls danced a lyrical style to Olivia Newton John’s ballad ‘Hopelessly Devoted’, looking pretty in pink fifties style skirts. The medley also included an edgier ‘Go Greased Lightening’, with rolling car tyres, dynamic choreography and the ‘Greased lightening, go greased lightning’ arm moves that everyone in the audience could join in with.

‘Summer Lovin’’ also featured, and could have been taken straight out of the film. Guys and gals congregated on separate sides of the stage area, before partnering up to enact the famous ‘Summer dreams, ripped at the seams’ big finish. The sequence had a grand finale with ‘We go together’. The audience clearly enjoyed the revival of the classic songs and dance moves, dancing along and giving endless rounds of applause.

Principal of the Step Ahead said: “We are proud to be part of this fun day for the community each year and we hope we added that extra bit of sparkle to the village fete.”

It is organised by a committee including the Ratepayers’ Association and the Rotary Club of Wilmslow Dean. Projects like this are run by the people of Stockport for its residents and any money raised is put back into local organisations.

01 Oct 2013

Step Ahead Scores Highly with the Royal Academy of Dancing

As well as the National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD) syllabus work, Step Ahead dance school also offers senior students the exciting chance to participate in Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) graded ballet classes, starting at intermediate foundation level. We are extremely lucky to have the expertise of Ms Judith Thompson (an experienced RAD qualified teacher) in the teaching of this discipline.

The RAD was established in 1920 and Queen Elizabeth II is the patron of the Academy. Each year, over a quarter of a million students are taught from its syllabus. The RAD standard is extremely high nationwide, and is centred around vigorous ballet training for those who may aspire to dance professionally.

RAD is not compulsory for pupils at Step Ahead, but the work strengthens and improves students’ work by focusing on the intricacies of technique and stamina. Step Ahead is one of the few NATD establishments that offers RAD work alongside its own.

We also enter students for the RAD exams when they have reached a suitable standard. Recent successes include Jennifer Bates and Anna Beck, who achieved their intermediate foundation certificates in June and November 2007 respectively. Natalie Bates, principal of the school, also passed her advanced foundation examination in June 2008.

These are incredible achievements for a local dance school, which spends a fraction of the time on training that a professional ballet school would.

01 Oct 2013

Salford City Academy’s students get fit to dance with Step Ahead Dance School

On Saturday 27th September 2008, Emma Wimpeney, teacher at Step Ahead Dance School, co-ordinated a fabulous open day for Salford City Academy. This included a slot for our dancers, who wowed an audience of Salfordians with a string of dance routines from the musical ‘Grease’.

They performed in and amongst hot air balloon rides, Chinese lion dancing, freestyle breakdancers and the Red Hot Flames cheerleading squad, just some of the fantastic attractions the open day had to offer. It was a ‘feast of fun for the whole family’.

Natalie and the dancers regarded it as a great privilege to take part in the open day, as it was a chance to introduce children from Salford and around to what the NATD can provide children of all ages. Hopefully a glimpse of our professional show work will encourage children from further a-field to get involved in dancing.

The theme of the day was sport and ways of keeping fit in a fun and educational way. Dancing in particular is a great way to do this. It is exercise disguised as great fun with your friends – much better than a boring fitness regime in an impersonal gym. The energy and vitality of our dancers in the ‘Grease’ performances demonstrated this. They were having fun and show casing their hard work, whilst enjoying producing something impressive in front of an audience. Step Ahead invites you to get involved now!

01 Oct 2013

Step Ahead Scores High in Latest Examination Results

The new marking scheme for National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD) exams proves that the standard remains high at Step Ahead dance school.

At Step Ahead we prepare our dancers with weeks of training in syllabus work, performance and confidence. It is important for the dancers to go into their exams feeling nervous enough to try hard, but confident enough about their work to perform well and above all, enjoy it. Exam sessions are hard work but worthwhile. The dancers move their way up through the grades, receiving fantastic results and progressing onto more exciting work.

Our girls did very well in the April 2008 exams, with forty one of the candidates achieving a merit in tap, ballet or modern. The NATD examiner was Ms Margaret Lapham.

A ‘Merit’ (60-79%) is awarded to those displaying ‘Secure and precise technique and knowledge of the syllabus in many of the sections’, and ‘expression and communication’ during the performance.

We also had some ‘Distinction’ marks awarded during the same exam session. Distinction is awarded to a highly developed musicality, appropriate expression in performance and a personal interpretation which is in accordance with the style. These are things developed with age and experience, which makes it all the more impressive that many of the younger dancers were awarded the mark (80-100%). Among them were eight year old dancers Hannah Hepburn, Bethany Moore, Lauren Ferguson, Katie Roberts and Lauren Myers, who all received distinction for their preliminary modern exam.

01 Oct 2013


Saturday’s Poynton Show has been hailed a ‘success’ by organisers – despite the

The event failed to escape the incessant rain of recent weeks, but that did not
stop thousands of punters from pouring through the gates and for Step Ahead
dancers did not prevent them from putting on a dazzling show.

Natalie Bates, Principal of the school, which is based at The Hockley Centre
said: “I can tell you it was very, very busy; a hectic pace all day. Even though it
absolutely chucked it down, it didn’t put people off.
“We performed dances from well known artists such as Alexandra Burke and
Black Eyed Peas and our street dance group lightened the mood with routines
inspired by the likes of Diversity from Britain’s Got talent.
“It was our first year performing at the show and we were worried the rain
would put people off but they were all there in their wellies ready to have a good
time. The crowd certainly spurred us on and our dancers thoroughly enjoyed
entertaining the local community.”
The school, which opened at The Hockley Centre in June last year, used the
event to engage with residents in Poynton and those who want to pursue their
love of dance.
“You’re never too old to dance and we constantly encourage anyone wishing to
take it up as a hobby to come and talk to us. Our ladies tap group has members
as old as 70 whilst our baby class is perfect for introducing children to basic
rhythm and movement,” commented Natalie.
“We’re already looking forward to next year’s show and can’t wait to show case
the talent we have at the school.”

01 Oct 2013


Step Ahead is celebrating its first birthday of its dance school at the Hockley Centre in
Poynton. The school which opened in June 2009 has enjoyed welcoming and training up new pupils over the past year.

Now awash with lots of budding ballerinas, tantalising tappers and slick street dancers the school is working towards including the new pupils in the 2011 biannual show as well as preparing them for gruelling examinations and show cases.

The new school opened after an increase in numbers at the school’s Heald Green venue and also provides an ideal facility for top level ballerina’s thanks to the Hockley Centre’s sprung floor and contemporary dance studio.

NATD and RAD registered by Mutual Agreement Principal of Step Ahead Natalie Bates
said: “I am really pleased that the new school has been such a success. It is always a risk investing time and money into a new business. Thankfully I have a great support network around me and excellent body of staff who are really hard working.
“I have been delighted with the level of talent we have discovered in the Poynton area and there has been a huge rise in the number of boys coming to join in with our street dance lessons. Thanks to programmes like Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent, boys are becoming less inhibited and are embracing the dance culture.”

Step Ahead is always on the lookout for new pupils and would like to hear from anyone interested in coming to the school.To book a place, or to get more information, please

contact Natalie Bates on 077996 14260 or email

01 Oct 2013

Kai gets a royal seal of approval

Ten year old Kai Davey from Handforth has proved himself to be a real life Billy Elliot with his recent acceptance into The Royal Ballet School as a Junior Associate.

His proud parents, Warren and Lydia Davey, who have no background in ballet, still have to pinch themselves to believe what is happening. Lydia said: “Kai was introduced to ballet only two years ago at Step Ahead Dance School in Heald Green.

He went along to a few classes and one day his teacher came to me and said it would definitely be worth auditioning with local schools such as the Hammond, but we never realised Kai would be good enough to dance with The Royal Ballet, never mind audition for them.” Kai has been accepted into the Royal’s junior outreach programme, since his parents can remember, Kai has wanted to do nothing more than pursue his love nof dance and since walking through the doors at Step Ahead dance he has been able to do just that. “We are really grateful to Kai’s teacher Natalie for spotting such young talent. My husband and I believe that if you can connect with a child and give them the confidence to express themselves in a discipline like ballet then the results can only be positive,” commented Lydia.

“We are immensely proud of him,” Lydia said. “We will support and encourage him every step of the way. Kai just loves to dance he doesn’t walk from room to room he dances. We are so grateful for his introduction to dance and couldn’t ask for more. Natalie has a natural connection with the children She is a dancer who teaches not a teacher teaching dance – and there is a big difference. Her love for dance shines through and just like with Kai, she gets the best out of her pupils.”