My name is Jo and I have dreamt about running my own dancing school from the age of 8. From my bunk bed, I made detailed plans with my best friend at the time; she would run the Ballet side and me the Modern. We choreographed routines - the Ballet to East 17's 'It's Alright' being particularly memorable - put on shows for anyone who would attend; making our own tickets and charging 10p entrance fees.
Fast forward to 2012 when I opened Clifford Studios in Barnes with 2 classes and 12 pupils. The school is named after my grandfather who was instrumental in nurturing my love of dance. He picked up, dropped off, made props and even funded some of my lessons.
Fast forward again to 2017 when the ideal property in Barnes has become available to expand the school further. I won the property through competitive tender and now need to deliver the required deposit by 28th June, which is where I need your help.
Since 2012, I've worked hard to expand Clifford Studios. I have qualified as a Pilates and Barre teacher to offer a wider variety of classes to Barnes residents and parents of children at the school. I now have 3 other fantastic teachers working alongside me and together we've successfully coached pupils through several Tap, Modern + Ballet exams as well as produced 2 professional shows. We sell our uniform online and I can now boast 21 children's classes and 20 adult classes. I am proud of the family atmosphere I have created; some clients that started their relationship with the studio at Pilates classes now send their children to dance with me.
All of this has been achieved from various rented community halls in Barnes. I've juggled storage issues, space issues and timetable issues as I compete with puppy training and gymnastics squads for the hall time. I've gone as far as I can within these parameters and in order to continue expanding the studio, it's vital to secure the property on Church Road.
With my own studio, I will be pleased to offer;
- A contemporary environment to be enjoyed before, during + after class
- A retail space for dance apparel, activewear + equipment
- A versatile studio space providing a wide variety of specialist classes
- A comprehensive timetable including NEW classes - Springboard Pilates + TRX - as well as MORE of the current classes in early morning, daytime + evening slots (see sample timetables below)*
- Monthly wellness workshops for adults and bespoke children's party packages in collaboration with local catering suppliers
- Community donation classes - clients pay what they can afford for certain sessions, thereby giving access to all
- Space to offer for charity and community events after hours
The new space will meet all the fitness needs of Barnes residents under one, well-appointed roof. Responding to the feedback of my current 150+ clients, classes will be scheduled to maximise family time; as parents + children will be able take classes simultaneously. For those not taking dance lessons with Clifford Studios, the shop will still be of use; stocking the uniforms preferred by other local providers.
The Church Road studio will enable me to stand out from the other suppliers of fitness and dance classes in the area. Whilst they are offering just one service (Pilates classes only or Ballet classes only), I will be offering a wide range, in an accessible location, with flexible payment plans and family discounts available. The focus will be on high quality studio classes run by experts; the likes of which gyms cannot offer.
The plan is to refurbish the studio during July + August, with a grand opening in September.
We are offering a variety of limited edition goods and opportunities in exchange for donations. These include limited edition hand-printed tote bags + activewear designed by Pirrip Press, exclusive pre-launch private lessons on the new equipment and, for current dance students, a professional photo shoot in the studio wearing their 2017 production costumes. Discounted membership options are also on offer along with the chance to become a 'founder member' and your photo on the wall. These rewards are priced between £10 and £1000, depending on your budget.
We'll be keeping you up to date on the progress of the project via our website; www.cliffordstudios.co.uk/our-new-home - as well as on social media. (Facebook : Clifford Studios and Instagram : @cliffordstudios)
* We will be keeping Kitson Hall for Grade 3+ and Saturday Beginner + Performance classes