Dorchester Ballet and Dance was formed in 1958 when ballet enthusiast Ann Hannay secured the late Elizabeth Goodchild as its teacher. Elizabeth and her good friend, Ann, shared an idealistic vision of dance being, “available to all, regardless of age, wealth or ability”, a motto that remains central to the school’s ethos, where Elizabeth then continued to teach for the following 58 years. Under her professional guidance, and dedication to the art and its students, dance provision blossomed in the town.
In 2004 Elizabeth was recognised in the New Year’s Honours list with an MBE for her services to dance and to her local community; with typical modesty for her own contribution Elizabeth said she had accepted it in recognition of her friend Ann who had died in 1989.
Elizabeth taught ballet, tap and historical classes until the end November 2016, being admitted to hospital just a few weeks later and diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had an extraordinary influence on Dorchester and the surrounding community. Within a few days of the news of her death on our social media page it had been shared or commented on over 10,000 times with expressions of sadness from many generations.
Elizabeth Goodchild, left us a legacy in her Will. It is a substantial sum with which she wanted us to secure the future of Dorchester Ballet and Dance by building our own premises. Our volunteers have identified a site, drawn up plans, and are securing extra funding to make Elizabeth's dream come true.
Will you help us fit out a studio in her name?
Dorchester Ballet and Dance has outgrown its current building, which restricts the number, size, content and length of classes that can be offered. A permanent base will be a wonderful opportunity to allow our school to continue to offer high quality, affordable dance facilities to Dorchester and the surrounding area.
The 'Elizabeth Goodchild Studio' will be light and airy, with a high ceiling, mirrors, fixed barres and a professionally sprung floor. The floor space of 120m2 will satisfy RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) and ISTD (International Society of Dance Teachers) recommendations, but will cost nearly £20,000 to install.
Today the dance school is run by a management committee and led by its trustees. It employs 6 teachers and an administrator, who oversees the daily running of the school. DBD is a family friendly, not-for-profit organisation; any net surplus is reinvested in the club. Additionally, committed volunteers contribute time exceeding 1,000 hours annually, including: financial management, production of performances, management, cleaning, maintenance, chaperoning, making costumes and much more. We offer an extremely high standard of dance to our members, whether for fun or as a future vocation; providing nearly 60 classes each week. We take students from 2 years and believe that being involved in dance is an important and positive influence in their development. Our fee structure aims to make dance affordable and concessionary rates are available for those in receipt of benefits.