June Bealey School Of Dancing – Healthy Dancing
Dancing has many benefits: not only is it exercise, it also means company and friends. It helps with mental health as well as physically staying in shape.
“It happens quite regularly that someone comes in not feeling so well, and then leaves the room refreshed and feeling much better,”
So says June Bealey, owner and founder of the June Bealey School of Dancing.
“Dancing requires using the brain in different ways – coordinating the moves involves a lot of attention and a break from daily life”.
The June Bealey School of Dancing has been going for over sixty years, with driving force June teaching daily dance lessons to children and adults. After leaving boarding school, June trained to be a dancer and spent three and a half years on stages in London, Blackpool and other places in the UK. Then she decided to come back home to Exeter and open a dance school. It first operated from the Labour club at Clifton hill, then moved to the YMCA building in st Davids, was based at Mint church for a while but is now well settled in King street where the dance school has been located for twenty years. Over the years, its performances have raised thousands of pounds for charities like the Bramble children’s ward at the hospital and Children’s Hospice South-West.
Forming Strong Relationships Through Dancing
The ever-growing ballet school is fortunate enough to teach hundreds of pupils each year. June smiles,
“What I like best about teaching dance, is meeting people. The school’s pay-as-you-come regime offers a lot of freedom to the pupils and allows time off for other priorities. The classes are small so there is a lot of attention for each individual pupil, although there is private tuition available too. The lesson gift voucher is proving quite popular, as people use it to pay forward the chance to sample dancing with the popular school. The June Bealey School of Dancing knows a lot of pupils that start as a three-year-old and stay with the school until they leave for University. Strong relationships are formed: with the body, the teacher and with peers.”
Lisa-Jayne Flynn started dancing at the dance school at three years old. Under June’s gentle guidance, she developed her ballet and tap dance skills and trained in other dance as well. Fifteen years later, she performed her student teaching exams at the school and became a qualified dance teacher herself. She ended up doing several other jobs, but kept coming to her weekly dance classes in the June Bealey School of Dancing. And finally, in 1999 she became June’s assistant and turned her passion into her profession. When asked about the secret of the dance school’s success, Lisa smiled.
“That is down to June’s sheer drive and determination. She has this really positive attitude that shines through in every aspect of the school, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Her energy is so welcoming, there is no pretence to what or how dance works”.
Dance Is Life
The June Bealey School of Dancing offers ballet, tap dance, Irish, freestyle, musical theatre, ballroom and Latin dance lessons all days of the week except for Sundays. Both June and Lisa are fully qualified, and their skilled teaching has prepared many dancers for exams and auditions. But most of all: they make sure the dance lessons are fun. There is no pressure, purely encouragement and support until the pupil achieves what they are after. Specifically in classical ballet, it can take a long time to get the technique right. Perseverance is key and the right teacher can help with the journey. June said,
“The best thing about teaching dance, is to see people progress. I don’t teach like anyone else. I will move it around until they do what I am after. Every person and child is different and I treat them as individuals. As long as they are trying, I won’t give up until they get it.”
In the sixty-year history of the June Bealey School of Dancing, thousands of pupils have danced their way through the doors, supported by June’s caring ways. Whilst writing this article, many people came up to me to tell me about their amazing experiences at the dance school. Without exception, all generations praise June and Lisa for their caring support. Unsung hero June Bealey is still going strong. Has she ever considered retiring? This made June laugh:
“I actually have a back problem, and they told me to keep dancing or I would end up in a wheelchair. Besides, dance is my life. It keeps me healthy as well”.
Written by Karin Venema