Studio One Dance Academy teacher Gail Harding gets a hug from her dancers before a performance.
Studio One Dance Academy teacher Gail Harding gets a hug from her dancers before a performance.

Dancing on for thirty years

THIRTY years ago, Gail Harding left a life of professional dancing on the world stage to come to Grafton to start a family.

Having worked with the Australian Opera dance company, Sydney Dance Company and various TV shows and ads while studying overseas, on her arrival she took over the dance ­studio founded by Joan McBay.

She rebranded the business as Studio One Dance Academy, and 30 years later she is teaching the next generation of dancers.

"I'm teaching past students' children now, which is delightful," she said.

Ms Harding said she had choreographed a "scary" number of dances for her students, of which she has 130 this year.

"I've always loved teaching, and I've had lots of students go on to perform professionally, and teach and choreograph themselves," she said.

Dancing wasn't just beneficial for those looking to make a career, Ms Harding said, with dancers regarded as being more organised, teaching them self-discipline.

"It gives them a place to express themselves without being judged all the time," she said.

"They have so many pressures (in their lives), that they can get into the dance room and be someone else; be that ballerina flying across or the hip-hop artist they see on television."

With a range of events organised to mark the studio's 30th year, Ms Harding said the joy in her work was seeing the children's enthusiasm for what they do.

"The kids want to be here. They love dancing, they love music, and even if they don't go on to dance, they become our audience of the future," she said.

"They take those disciplines they learn for the rest of their life."

Gail Harding of Studio One Dance Academy, which is celebrating 30 years of operation in Grafton.
Gail Harding of Studio One Dance Academy, which is celebrating 30 years of operation in Grafton.


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