THE team behind a new dance academy have revealed plans to make it a nationally recognised centre of excellence.

Around 300 people attended an open day at CCDance (formerly Deana Morgan Academy) in Shipley, where West End performer James Lomas cut the ribbon.

Former professional dancer Catriona Murdock and business partner Clare Quinn have bought the business, known as DMA, from its founder, Deana Morgan, who now becomes a patron of the academy after 19 years as its principal.

DMA, based at The Studios in Shipley, has an impressive line-up of past pupils, not least Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud and dancer Joshua Barwick, who returned to the district last year, performing at the Alhambra with Rambert, one of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies. Other former students are training with companies such as Northern Ballet and the Royal Ballet School.

Co-owner and principal Catriona said: “Deana has created a safe and caring environment with a highly skilled and qualified faculty of teachers who share her vision to pass on a love of dance and performance. We're excited to be leading the school into its next phase.”

Since the school was established in 1999, students have studied for theatre, street dance and musical theatre examinations, won awards at local and national dance competitions and staged productions at the Alhambra. Youngsters from DMA have appeared on stage at Sadler's Wells and the Royal Albert Hall, and in their own productions at the Magic Kingdom in the Disneyland Resort, Paris.

The academy offers weekly sessions in a range of dance disciplines for all ages and abilities, as well as masterclasses with leading industry professionals. “We’ve announced plans to give The Studios a facelift," says Clare. "Catriona and I will be working hard to make sure 2018 is full of exciting opportunities for our wonderful dancers to develop and show off their amazing talents. We want to build on the region's fantastic reputation for dance and contribute to its position as a leading light in the arts, by nurturing and celebrating our home-grown talent.”

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