New home for music and dance

LOVING NELSON:  Lucy Moignard and husband Roy are opening a performing arts school.
LOVING NELSON: Lucy Moignard and husband Roy are opening a performing arts school.

A new dance and performing arts school is about to open in Nelson.

A Star Academy of the Arts is shaping up in premises in Haven Rd, previously a tile shop, with a newly renovated front-of-house, and the warehouse out the back destined to become a dance studio.

It has been set up by British couple Lucy and Roy Moignard, who have decided to settle here permanently after getting to know the Nelson region in the mid-2000s, when Roy was a student at Motueka's Nelson Aviation College.

The couple and their young daughter Esme have been back in Nelson for almost two months, and are keen to set up a business using their backgrounds in music and choreography.

Roy earned his commercial pilot's licence in Motueka but is also a classical guitarist, and plans to teach guitar at the academy. Lucy has worked in Britain as a dance teacher and as a choreographer in stage and television productions.

She said she was impressed with the level of arts activity in Nelson, particularly that produced on stage at the Theatre Royal, and by existing dance studios.

Opening day for the academy is planned for some time in the next two months. It would celebrate the input from Nelson businesses that had helped it set up, Lucy said.

She aimed to offer classes in a range of dance styles, including ballet, tap, Irish dancing, jazz, modern and lyrical, a style that blends ballet and jazz.

The academy would also aim to offer drama classes, from Shakespeare to classical theatre and acting for TV.

Lucy said she hoped to be in a position to be able to take on more instructors, and ultimately wanted to provide a teacher training scheme.

She hoped the academy would also provide a venue at which groups attending classes might socialise.

"I'm also wanting to do something for people with mobility problems, and create a social time where they can come here for classes and a cup of tea."

Lucy said the couple were impressed with Nelson during Roy's time at the aviation school, and had wanted to move here since.

She said it reminded them of how Britain used to be when she was younger."It's more free and happier than the UK, with opportunities for everyone."

The Nelson Mail