Tap dance tots score a 100 per cent pass rate

Four-year-old Elana Simmons

Four-year-old Elana Simmons Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

TOE-TAPPING toddlers have blown away examiners by getting a 100 per cent pass rate in their first dance exams.

Forty-two pupils at community dance school Lil Tapz had their first exams in tap and ballet in April.

The group, based at Rose Hill Community Centre, was set up six months ago by Rose Hill mum-of-three Stephanie Ballard.

She said: “The exams were in April, and then we had a presentation of their certificates and badges last weekend.”

Paula Wood from United Teachers of Dance (UTD) acted as an external examiner.

There were two exams: a group ballet test for the youngest pupils and individual tap exams for pupils over the age of five.

Mrs Ballard said: “There was a pre- primary exam, where we basically just did a class in front of the examiner, and then there were the bronze and silver medals for tap.

“They had to go in by themselves, and do their routine completely by themselves in a room they’ve never seen before and in front of a person they’d never seen before.”

It was not just the girls who were being tested – Mrs Ballard had to achieve certain results if the UTD would allow her to continue running the school.

She said: “I had to get 80 per cent pass rate with three merits, and I got 100 per cent pass rate with eight merits. They gave me two years to do it and I managed it in just six months. I’m really chuffed.”

The mum-of-three said: “I’m very proud. I can’t believe how well it’s going.

“I thought I would have 10 kids but it’s just flown, we teach 48 children and 12 adults. There was obviously a real need for it.”

Four-year-old Elana Simmons took the pre-primary exam. She said: “I enjoyed my dancing. It wasn’t scary, it was good.”

Her mum, Lisa Kiel, said: “She started in September after Mrs Ballard started the school. She had absolutely no rhythm and no coordination, but those have come on in leaps and bounds since she started.”

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