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THE CHAMPION TEACHING FUTURE CHAMPIONS
11th Dec, 2019
When Bethan Evan’s Lea began her dance journey at age four, little did she know she would be leading her dance school to the Five Nations Championships.
It’s 5pm on a cold winter’s night, there’s a quiet, peaceful atmosphere surrounding Chirk Tavern, approaching the function room there is a faint sound of dance music, gradually getting louder until you reach the door. Inside is a dance class and a teacher coaching and supporting her young champions, that teacher is Bethan’s Evans-Lea, championship dancer by the age of eight.
Who is Bethan?
Bethan began her dance journey aged four as a competitor, becoming a championship dancer at age eight and competing until she was eighteen and a half.
She took her official dance exams with the United Kingdom Alliance to open her own dance school which is BDA. Bethan did her degree at Liverpool John Moores University in Dance and Community Studies and went on to do her PCGE to become a fully qualified secondary school teacher.
Photo credit: Nerys Reese
“As a dancer, my fondest memory is winning the championships at age nine in the under tens category as a personal best when I was in Blackpool with my own parents. I then made the front of what was The Evening Leader at the time.”
“Initially, the first class I went to with lots of other little children, I don’t think my mum knew where we were going, we went and it was supposed to be just a fun little outing every week.”
From this class Bethan’s passion grew rapidly, she began competing in the big competitions and representing Wales.
When she was asked to mentor at aged fourteen at a youth club, this got her into the teaching role, that’s when she realised her passion was in the dancing skills in other people, not just herself.
BDA is now the longest standing dance school in Wrexham, they have been running for twenty five years.
BDA initially started teaching freestyle and rock and roll. Due to popular demand, they moved into formation teams, street dance, lyrical, contemporary and launching in January, they will be going back to basics with some Latin American.
BDA is North Wales based with classes in Chirk, a newly launched class in Brymbo, and now their main base, their brand new studio in Cefn Mawr, The BDA Bakery.
BDA Bakery is a much more modern and fresh facility, which is much bigger for the students. Upstairs is already refurbished with stretch bars, mirrors and mats which they didn’t have the opportunity to have before in their old premises. The future plans for downstairs are to create an acrocentre where students will be able to learn a lot more flexibility and stamina tricks.
“The new additions in the premises allow the students the opportunity to see their shapes and how they look on the dance floor, hopefully giving them a much more all round dance experience.”
Bethan leads her dance school to many competitions all around the UK. She hosts her own events in Wrexham for new competitors to get a feel for competing before attempting to travel further. BDA have travelled to Scotland, Ireland and all over the North West.
“My personal favourite is the Five Nations because its got a great atmosphere, it’s patriotic and its fantastic seeing the children walk out for their country as well as their passion for dance. The greatest pleasure for me is when teams win, we’ve had so many show dance teams, from under twelves to adults. When you get to go on to the stage an lift the trophy with them, it’s the greatest feeling because they’re all involved, not just one dancer.”
The Five Nations is a freestyle dance event and now also a lyrical event ran by Dance Supreme, an Irish based company. Hosts are welcome from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Competitors compete in a range of competitions from the Friday night right through to the Sunday. The main event takes place Sunday night when each country battles it out to be crowned the top of the Five Nations.
“We’ve had the pleasure of lifting the trophy before, and being the smallest country attending, it was brilliant.”
Bethan’s Dance Academy are preparing to travel to the Five Nations dance competition again in March 2020.
Bethan would like thank her family, friends and her BDA dance family for their continued support through the past twenty five years.
Bethan’s Dance Academy run classes in The BDA Bakery in Cefn Mawr, The Cricket Club in Brymbo and The Tavern in Chirk.
Some classes may have age limitations and prices vary, please visit @BDANorthWales on Facebook for more information.
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