About Dance Academy 1

Established in 2006 we are a CDET recognised dance school based in Chepstow, Monmouthshire with our own studio. We offer lessons and classes in Ballroom, Latin, Street, Western Line, Salsa, American Smooth, Classical Old Time, Modern Sequence, Rock and Roll, Ballet and Tap. Our aim is to encourage you to reach your full dancing potential, whatever your age and experience. If your personal goal is to dance competitively or socially, we will help you achieve this. We are fully committed to your dancing aspirations.
The school enters regional and national competitions throughout the year, the highlight National Championships/Medallists which are held in Blackpool every year. Family and friends are welcome to join us for this weekend away and we do enjoy some leisure time whilst we are there from Blackpool’s famous attractions.

If you are not competitive a good way to measure your dancing progress is by taking medal tests, which are normally held twice a year. We are proud of our 100% pass rate in medal tests and our success is celebrated with a gathering of pupils and their families to receive their awards and certificates. In addition to this we meet for social evenings, theatre and show trips. We also offer dance weekends away at various UK destinations which are always very popular and a fantastic way to meet new friends and catch up with old friends.
Take a look at our teacher profiles Lawrance, Sarah -Jayne, Janet and Grace. We also hold masterclasses with guest teachers.


Lawrance has been dancing since the age of four. That’s over 40 years of dancing! His passion for dancing is evident in his passion for teaching others to experience and enjoy dance as much as he does.
Dance Academy 1 was set up in 2006 and is based in Chepstow but Lawrance has been teaching since 1996.
Fellowship in Ballroom, Classical Old Time, Modern Sequence & Latin American.
Additional qualifications to teach in American Smooth, Hip Hop/Street, Tap, Freestyle/Disco, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Argentine Tango, Line Dance, Catwalk.
Adjudicator and examiner for the United Kingdom Alliance (UKA).
Involved in the Welsh Area of Professional Dance Teachers, a member of and adjudicator of the British Dance Council.
As well as teaching, examining and judging Lawrance is regularly asked to judge competitions such as ‘Stars of Wales’ and you may have seen his most recent TV appearance on the BBC Strictly Come Dancing ident working with Karen Hardy.
Dance Academy 1 is often asked to participate in local activities such as carnivals, corporate events, demonstrations, press interviews and also competes in local and national competitions.
Lawrance attended the Bill and Mary Winston School of Dance in Sedbury where he gained his UKA medals and began dancing competitively. In 1980 he went to Wayne and Wendy Packard’s dance school where he developed the competitive side of his career. He joined the famous Peggy Spencer formation team and worked with celebrities such as Bonnie Langford and Wayne Sleep, dancing in front of the Queen in 1989. He turned professional in 1994 and continued to rise through the competitive ranks culminating in several national finals. His dance school was growing at this stage and left little time for competitive practice. Lawrance took the decision to teach dancing full time and to enthuse pupils of all ages with his passion for dancing.


Paula Hoggarth

I was first introduced to dancing at the age of 3 through Rogers School of dancing in Redcar Cleveland.  I began with working through my medals in Ballroom, Latin and English Old Time.  Whilst working towards my Gold Medals which I completed at age 5, I began competing.  After moving overseas at age 6, I was unable to continue with Ballroom so commenced classes in both Ballet and Tap.  These I continued until age 10.

At age 11, I relocated to live in Australia.  I began my medals again and instead of English Old Time I completed medals in Ballroom, Latin and Australian New Vogue, a style very similar to English Old Time.

I began to compete again in my early teens training with the Gilkison Studio’s and competed in numerous competitions all over Australia, winning the Western Australian Championships in 1989.  The height of my competitive journey came in 1990 winning the Pan Pacific Championship in Ballroom and also picking up a first with the Gilkison Formation team.  I competed again at the Pan Pacific’s in 1992 placing Second in the Ten Dance Championship.

Having relocated back to the UK and after taking a break of 27 years I entered Dance Academy 1 when my son wanted to learn to dance.  This was a very emotional time for me having spent the best years of my life living and breathing dance.  After his first lesson, the passion returned with a vengeance and the desire to get back on the dance floor was over whelming.  After a few weeks and regaining some confidence, I have now been given the opportunity to join the amazing team at Dance Academy 1 to continue my journey.


At the age of 7, I enrolled in the Mary Wilde School of Dancing in Manchester to study ballet, tap and modern dance. Over the course of ten years I passed all my graded examinations, including my teaching diploma, with distinction and at the age of 17 I emerged from the school as a fully qualified ballet teacher.
Over the following three years, my professional career flourished and I performed throughout the UK in the most distinguished theatres and cabaret clubs of that era, and also featured in a number of televised performances, alongside the likes of Roy Castle, Freddie Starr and Dusty Springfield.
At 19, I was requested to audition at the prestigious London Palladium, but turned it down to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime; a 14-month tour of Italy, France and Switzerland as a lead dancer in a top cabaret organisation.
The intense physical demands of the job means that a career as a professional dancer is rarely a long one, and in my twenties I retired from show business and concentrated on raising a family.
Dance has remained an integral part of my life; my two daughters also studied dance and I was regularly involved in their childhood productions with school, girl guides and amateur dramatic societies, contributing to choreography and costume. In later life, I renewed my love of dance for personal enjoyment and took up Latin and Ballroom dancing at Dance Academy 1. Once my passion for dance was reignited there was no stopping it, and I now teach ballet and tap to adults and children of all levels. For fun and relaxation I continue to learn Latin and Ballroom, enter dancing competitions and both choreograph and act in local pantomime.

Elle Harris -Thomas

I started dance at 3 years old where I enrolled to a local ballet class. My Love for dancing started here and only grew. I then started Jazz dance 5. I then at the age of 6 started Ballroom, Latin, Classical Sequence, I went through the medal tests and grades in this time and started competing at the age of 7 in various competitions. My Ballroom teacher stopped competitions when I was at the age of  13 and as Ballroom and Latin was my real passion all my other dancing stopped too and I thought I would never dance again. At 14 I started I started Tap however it was not the type of dance I really loved and stopped this after 3 years. In January of 2023 I came across Dance Academy 1 and it was the best thing that as happened to me, Ive started dance again, returned to doing medal tests and my passion has returned and my life is now better for it. I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to teach cheer dance and share my love with other people.

outside of dance I am about to qualify as a paediatric nurse. I now get to do two things I love the Rostand I couldn’t be happier