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Changing name and room

KATASHA MCCULLOUGH
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2012
Dance Academy

NEW LOOK: Dancers Maya Wyatt, Rochelle Sanderson, Maddy Elgar, Sophie Dorrian, Jess Bark and Connie Davie during rehearsals for the end-of-year L’Academie de Danse showcase.

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Dance studio L'Academie de Danse is heading into the new year with a new name, new logo and new programmes.

The Rosedale studio will be redecorated and upgraded over the summer break and renamed Neverland.

Owner and director Ashleigh Habgood, 26, has had Neverland's new logo tattooed on her wrist.

She says the change was a big risk, but it felt right.

"It was what the studio needed. I thought people would be averse to change, but people seemed to be ready for it. Everything's fallen into place."

She says she could not have asked for a better response to the makeover from the students.

The studio is introducing a mentoring programme for parents and teens called the Changing Room to fit in with its aims of creating a safe, positive space for young people.

Miss Habgood says the staff are not just dance teachers.

"It's one of our major values that we get to influence these young people. You have them as a captive audience every week, so what you say better be positive. It's one of the main reasons I like being a dance teacher."

The studio's new name was released at the end-of-year show, which had a record-size audience.

Miss Habgood writes her own original shows with a positive message every year.

She says classic tales like Cinderella are not really relevant any more because they are all about finding your prince.

Instead she wants to challenge young people about the decisions they make.

"I see so many kids come out of school and think they have to go to uni. They should make decisions that will make them happy, not just do what they think they should," she says.

The studio has more than 700 students aged 18 months to adults.

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