Dancing queen Anna celebrates step into unknown 10 years on

WHEN Anna Kirkpatrick gave up a full-time job to launch her own dance school she only had one worry.

It was not the fear of taking a big step into the world of self-employment.

But it was the worry of telling her mum about the plans. Ten years on neither Anna or mum regret the decision or the advice given.

The former teaching assistant is celebrating a decade in business for Anna’s Dance.

With classes, workshops and parties to organise Anna’s feet hardly touch the floor.

“I was dreading telling my mum because I thought she wouldn’t want me to go self-employed,” explained Anna, whose own former mentors include a legendary Shaw dance teacher.

“Instead she simply said ‘just go for it’. I would have thought she would have been more conservative.

“I remember the night before my first class I spent £35 on an iphone docking station. That was all I set up with.

“But I have never had any financial backing or grants. I’ve just grown everything from scratch,” explained Anna whose business wings unfolded while working at St Joseph’s Primary School.

“I took a set of girls to do a leavers’ dance routine and then the Year Six boys said ‘can we do this too?’

“A couple of mums then asked if I would start a dance group for their children.

“I hired St Joseph’s parish centre and began doing street dance classes for children on Friday evenings.”

Anna obtained her qualifications in Zumba in 2010 and now organises workout classes for all ages including her popular Zumba Gold groups.

She also hosts after school dance activities, paid for by support from local businesses who partially or fully fund classes which might not ordinarily be available due to budget cuts.

“I do a school class of some type or other every day and they have become so popular I don’t have the time to do more,” said Anna.

Anna’s own teachers included Patricia Dyson, who taught thousands of Oldham youngsters after establishing her School of Dancing in Shaw in 1961. She retired in 1997 and died in September 2010.

“Another teacher, Angela Brayshaw, was a big inspiration. I was really impressed by her because she was always very funky instead of just teaching traditional ballet or tap,” explained Anna.

“So you can imagine how nervous I was one Monday evening when she came to one of my Zumba classes and I wasn’t expecting her!”

Anna, 45, is supported by her own enthusiastic team.

“There are a couple of young girls coming through I would like to see gain some qualifications and help me run classes in the future.

“I suppose it’s how long you can remain cool with the kids.

“Mind you, I am not old enough to hang up my Adidas just yet and I don’t think I will stop dancing!”

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