Leeds dance troupe to perform at Disneyland Paris after lockdown dashed hopes of first event

A Leeds dance troupe are getting ready for a trip of a lifetime after being accepted to perform at Disneyland Paris.

By Abbey Maclure
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 4:45 pm

Emma Date, principal of Attitude Dance Leeds in Calverley, was thrilled to have the team's audition tape approved - scooping a competitive slot to perform to crowds of visitors.

The 46-year-old founded her dance school in Calverley Methodist Church 12 years ago and has seen hundreds of aspiring dancers come through the doors.

But for the children and young people who join her classes, it's about much more than just dancing.

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Emma Date, owner of Attitude Dance Leeds in Calverley, will take a troupe to perform at Disneyland Paris this summer (Photo: Tony Johnson)

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“We offer a massive variety of genres of dancing," Emma told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“But it's also the social aspect, the bonds they make and becoming a family that are so important.

"The friends they make at dancing, they will stick with and keep for many years."

Emma's school gives young people the chance to realise their dreams and build lifelong skills (Photo: Tony Johnson)

Emma began dancing when she was two years old, training in ballet, tap, modern and jazz at Toni Moss Academy of Dance in Kent, where she also gained teaching experience.

She moved to Yorkshire in 1998 to study a degree in Dance at Bretton Hall University and started her career as a Leeds dance teacher, working at DAZL for 15 years before starting out on her own.

Attitude Dance offers classes in acrobatic arts, street dance, ballet, cheer, musical theatre, drama, tap, aerial hoop, contemporary and stage.

And a troupe of around 13 dancers, aged from five to 23, have been given the opportunity to perform at Disneyland Paris in July after their audition was put forward by agency Take a Bow Productions.

The dance troupe who will perform at Disneyland

It follows heartbreak in March 2020 when an Attitude Dance troupe found out they were accepted into the programme during the first week of lockdown.

Some of the dancers in the 2020 troupe will perform at this year's event, including Emma's 13-year-old daughter Matilda.

“They are so excited," Emma said.

"It’s the 30th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris so it’s an even better year to perform.

"They’re particularly chuffed because it’s been a difficult time to do it and some of the team are part of the troupe that tried in 2020 but couldn’t go. They’re even more ecstatic.”

Emma was shortlisted as a National Business Hero in the 2020 SME Business Awards for work as a dance teacher after being nominated by the parents of one of her pupils.

Since then, she has continued to support families during lockdown, running dance classes over Zoom, workshops, socials and even a 'meet the pets' event.

“A lot of parents said that it was a lifeline for the kids," Emma added.

"It gave them a focus and something to look forward to, a chance to still see friends, albeit on the screen, but still a connection for them."

Emma is still in touch with many of her former students, who often pop in to catch up, and some of them now have families of their own.

"It’s lovely to still have that connection with them," she said.

“What keeps me going is a passion for dancing but also seeing the children grow up and fulfil their dreams.

"That's not always in dance, but you still feel like you’re part of building them as a person."

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