Otley Tap Dance Group
The Otley Tap Dance class is celebrating a year of fun dancing, meeting new people and socialising in the heart of this rural community. Jill Streatfeild, the activity instructor has shared with us a year's success of Otley Tap Dance Class supported by Fit Villages.
In early 2016 when I was starting a beginners' tap class in Woodbridge, I was contacted by a lady who could not attend on Thursdays, but wondered if I would consider starting another class on Wednesdays at her local village hall in Otley.
I knew a little about the Fit Villages scheme, but thought it was mainly for sports activities. However, I was pleased to learn that they would be prepared to offer support for a new tap dance class and, after a successful taster session in April 2016, the first series of eight funded lessons began last May.
As we got to know each other better, we looked around for an after-class venue. Luckily, one member of the class runs the local pub, the White Hart, and agreed to open up early on Wednesdays so we could all enjoy coffee and a chat – now an important part of the morning's event!
One year on, the class is still thriving and, although there has been some inevitable coming and going, ten of the original group continue to attend regularly. We celebrated our anniversary with a delicious lunch at – where else – the White Hart. It has been enormously rewarding to watch them progress: gaining confidence, learning new steps and new skills. Many had never danced before, but all can now perform quite complicated series of steps.
The group took part in a fund-raising event in Woodbridge for Doctors Without Borders in January 2017, when over £600 was raised for the charity. Friends and family came along to support the Otley group and I was proud to see them demonstrate their new skills with confidence and style.
Now, the journey begins again with a new evening class at Ufford Church Hall on Thursday evenings at 6pm. I look forward to getting to know the new group better and to watching them learn, improve, get fitter – and make new friends.
Don't just take our word for it, read local participants comments below:
Everyone is so friendly and supportive. Not to be missed. (Pauline)
Great class for fun, fitness and mentally stimulating. (Lin)
So much more than just the dancing. Jill has endless patience and makes everyone feel at ease. (Sally)
Fun dancing, fun people. It's not just dance, it's a social event, with coffee at the pub after, it's great to discuss what we have done in class. (Sue)
I never thought it could be so much fun to have exercise! (Alan)
A massive thanks to Fit Villages and the incredible Jill Streatfeild for all they do. Tap dancing brings new people into the village, we have all made new friends and got fit in the process. (Lynda)
This encompasses rural wellbeing at its absolute very best... it is inspired and inspirational. (Dr Scilla Dyke MBE)