A TRIP to South America proved life-changing for Sheffield dancer Becky Adams – when she found herself hijacked and robbed at gunpoint.
The experience left her shaken, but determined to embark on a new direction.
“We were on an overnight bus in Brazil… I honestly have never been so scared in my life,” says the 25-year-old. “It was only after that I realised life is too short – and I knew I wanted to set up my own dance academy.
“From then on whenever I was on a bus or plane I started making notes about how I wanted my school to run, name ideas and sketches of uniforms and logos!“
Becky returned home last September to out her plans into action. Now her dream has become reality with the school launching in partnership with the Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy.
Becky, of Hunters Bar has loved dancing since her first lesson at the age of eight. “I remember constantly looking forward to Saturdays – dancing day – and was always practising in my bedroom and putting on shows with my friends.”
As a teenager she decided to make dancing her career, despite being warned about the hardships.
She went on to gain experience with local amateur dramatics groups, including Croft House Theatre Company and Sheffield Teachers Operatics Society, and landed a handful of professional roles in touring productions at the Lyceum.
At 16, she successfully auditioned for the Brit School in London – but turned it down in favour of a scholarship to study musical theatre at the Midlands Academy of Dance & Drama in Nottingham.
“It was hard moving away from home at such a young age, but it was great doing what I loved. They were long, strenuous days, often starting college at 8am and not finishing until 8pm, but it only made you work harder.”
She secured teaching qualifications and began teaching part time. Graduating with distinction, she began working in her chosen field – including dancing with an Irish Riverdance show. But after two years she tired of the insecurity and turned to her passion for teaching, moving back to Sheffield and working with local dance schools, clubs and gyms.
In 2011 she decided to take a gap year and follow her sister’s example by travelling the world. It was during this trip that the armed robbery made her realise her dream of running a dance school.
Her new Dance Unlimited academy is based at Fulwood Scout Hut (Mondays and Tuesdays) and Dore & Totley URC (Wednesday afternoons).
Initially, children aged three to six will develop their musicality and imagination in half-hour classes. Street dance, ballet and tap for older children will be introduced after Easter, along with adult tap and dance fit classes.
“I’m excited to be launching this unique dance programme,” says Becky. “It will introduce a new generation of youngsters to the artistic opportunities right here on their doorstep.”