Course History  Bethany Rose Harrison

During the Easter holidays in 1999 my younger sister, Bethany and friends from her dancing school were very bored! They decided to have a sleep over so I offered to hire the local village hall and give them some classes in Ballet, Jazz and Tap. I was about to graduate from the Royal Ballet Upper School. I had always enjoyed helping my teachers out with younger classes and had choreographed my sister's festival dances for years which she did very well with (including at The All England Dance Festival). Being a dancer myself, I seemed to be able to break things down easily and also demonstrate which was welcomed by the students. I loved it and found the enthusiasm from the students incredibly rewarding.        

The children loved our two days of dancing so I decided to develop the idea into a summer course. Living in an Inn opposite to the halls, I had the perfect location to hold a summer school and so, Dunsford Performing Arts was created. Every summer for the past fifteen years I have hired out all the letting rooms and halls and transformed them into a Theatre school. Our reputation has grown enough to attract some amazing teachers from around the country.

Although we began offering the courses to everyone (from beginner to advanced students), it soon grew to the point that we now have to offer separate courses to make sure that each and every student gains as much as possible from their time with us. We hold an Talent and choreographic competition which is a real highlight for the students, and gives them the chance to show themselves off to each other and sometimes, celebrity judges! 

  One of the best things about being a dancer and running such a set up is that most of my friends and acquaintances are all successful performers or teachers. I have managed to get some incredible people down to Devon to teach or give talks to the students and I hope to continue bringing different people down along with those who have become DPASC regulars! It is not often that students get to experience working with these talented teachers and performers, so to be able to offer it in such a beautiful setting (Dunsford) is something I am extremely proud of. I attended a lot of the major ballet seminars/dance summer schools while growing up so I have been able to draw on those experiences in order to create a summer course that I for one, would have loved to attend!