Ellie Cook is the driving force behind Elevation Dance Company and has recently opened up her own premises on Baden Powel Road after running classes from St Thomas’ Centre.
Ellie has danced since she was four years old, at 10 she auditioned for the Northern Ballet Associates and at 16 years old trained professionally at Centre Pointe Vocational College in Manchester where she took her A levels and danced full time. Ellie graduated after three years, is an award winner at English Ballet Championships and has performed at The Royal Albert Hall and various other UK venues.
Her time in the northwest enabled her to further her teaching qualifications before moving closer to her home town of Chesterfield in 2016.
“Fabulous dance Company, professional yet relaxed and friendly all at the same time. Ellie is patient and very creative keeping the kids engaged and always interested. I can’t recommend her classes enough!”
Helen Treece, Connie's mum.
“I moved home and opened in January 2017 taking classes for preschool to 16-year-old students at St Thomas’ Centre and this is where I operated until lockdown last year,” explains Ellie. “I offered all types of dance to students, ballet, tap, musical theatre, acrobatics, and even street dance with teacher Ana-Mia who comes in to help out.”
As with many businesses all was well until 23 March 2020 when lockdown hit. “When things closed I was unsure what to do, how to survive as a business,” says Ellie.
“I refurbished the dining room at home and started zoom classes. These were well received, and I was able to run zoom-based classes for 19 weeks. We ran online competitions etc and it was lovely to see children staying with the classes, and even better when we were briefly able to offer face to face classes as nearly everyone returned.
“I have to pass on my thanks to those who stuck with it, it’s this that has enabled me to keep the business viable and even allowed me to expand into my own permanent studio.”
“I’d always wanted my own space and was on the lookout for a studio, I found a unit on Baden Powel Road, near Queen's Park, next to Ian Jolly garage and picked up the keys in October last year.”
What Ellie didn’t know was that she would only have the new unit open for three days.
“It was really disappointing to close down again but rather than look at things negatively I invested in some better equipment that enabled me to improve the quality of the zoom classes and started online again, this time from the new studio.
“I have to admit that it was hard keeping the motivation going the second time around but over Christmas we put together a Christmas Showcase which gave a focus for the sessions. We practiced routines with students and then filmed them, these were edited by Rob from Resurge Media and we live streamed the event. Family members paid £5 a ticket and raised £350, which we donated to Ashgate Hospicecare. It also enabled people across the country to view the student's hard work, it perhaps gave us a bigger reach than we’d have achieved had we held the event at the studio. ”
Ellie also coached a number of students through exams over zoom, “we had two students pass their grade 1 tap exams with distinctions remotely, I would take the lesson as if I was the examiner, film it and then it would be assessed remotely. Tap was a bit difficult due to the delays over zoom, but we got through it. Evidence that students can still achieve even though we were not able to meet face to face.”
It was clear chatting to Ellie that she loves what she does with a passion and dancing with children, “I love being silly with them, the fun you get from them is infectious and it’s a great way for young children to gain life experiences and confidence,” says Ellie.
Elevation Dance have classes to suit all abilities from 4 to 16 years of age, their class sizes are typically 10 children, with a maximum of 12, to enable close tuition and allows for a mix of one to one and group coaching.
Classes take place Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and now she has her new studio classes are being added all the time.
Get in touch with Ellie on the contact details below, and as always be sure to mention that you saw her in S40 Local.
Elevation Dance Company
Baden Powel Road
T: 07414 900299
Words: Paul Chapman Images: Helen Rowan Photography