30 Years Of Let’s Dance! In Hassocks
Let’s Dance! (Hassocks) was ‘born’ on Saturday 7th November 1987 with Robin (Irene Bates) as Principal and sole teacher.
The school opened with 40 pupils on a Saturday morning. Soon over 200 pupils were attending classes four days a week with ages ranging from 3 years to adults. Some families have three generations dance with the school.
Robin was given her ‘bird’ name when she became Leader of 1st Hassocks Guides which she ran for 10 years. The bird theme continued with all classes being named after birds. Naming the school Let’s Dance! seemed to identify Robin’s aim to teach dance with an element of fun!
It wasn’t long before Robin’s first show was being organised. This took place on 29th April 1989. Proceeds were presented to the NSPCC.
From the beginning Robin wanted monies raised from the performances to benefit children’s charities. As well as being very rewarding for Robin, pupils and families, lots of fun has been enjoyed over the years!
For several years pupils and helpers travelled to Merton in South London on a double decker bus to entertain at the Lions Spring Supper held for the local community housebound. Annually a float was decorated for Hassocks Summer Fayre. Parents spent the morning decorating a Corralls lorry for the parade. Pupils dressed up to ride through the village from Hassocks Hotel to Adastra Park and then entertain.
Robin’s family have always been very supportive and play a big part in the School.
Her husband John videoing shows, sorting programmes and posters, transporting equipment to events. Damon, her eldest, has been ‘sound man’ for shows and examinations. Her elder daughter, Zoe, has performed in many of Robin’s shows over the years…even tap dancing with her Mum to entertain residents at Valerie Manor where she has been owner/manager since 2008. Pupils also entertain annually there.
Recognising youngest daughter Sally-Ann’s passion for dance and having gained her teaching qualification, Robin decided to hand over Wednesdays to introduce POINT4 Modern Classes to the school.
In September 2011 whilst continuing her role as Principal of the school and still teaching adults, Robin handed most of her classes to Sally-Ann whose enthusiasm and teaching qualities have surpassed Robin’s dream of keeping Let’s Dance! alive!
Over £64,000 has been raised for various children’s charities by the Schoool – long may it continue!
On Friday 10th November at The Hassocks Hotel, a Children’s Party is being held in the afternoon and in the evening, past and present adult pupils are invited to dance along to ‘The Jukebox Live’ featuring Tom Evans and Jack the Lad from Heart Sussex. Entry will be by ticket only available to purchase at Keymer Church Hall during classes.
Look out for Sally-Ann’s forthcoming venture at Freedom Leisure new dance studio, Hassocks. Robin would like to thank everyone who has supported the School over the years.