Posted: 07.04.21 at 19:12 by The Editor
AS England moves ever nearer lifting lockdown restrictions, with a new easing of rules and regulations next Monday (12 April), a borough dance school has set its sights on a goal a little further away.
Razzamataz Thurrock dance school meets at various locations across Thurrock as part of a wider national franchise that came to fame on TV and is planning to make a return in September this year.
Kasey Banks, is co-principal of Razzamataz Thurrock and says she and colleagues are looking forward to making their contribution to getting people ‘back to normal’.
And she emphasises the importance of leisure activity such as dance in combatting the stress and pressure on mental health brought about by the pandemic.
Kasey says: “As lockdown is gently lifted, schools return and we all get back into some sort of routine, the effects of the pandemic and parents’ worries are starting to be revealed.
“A Loose Women investigation found 55 per cent of parents fear that the global coronavirus pandemic will have a long-term effect on their children's mental health.
“The Covid Kids: The State of Our Children's Wellbeing survey conducted with 1,000 parents of children aged four to 16 by OnePoll also found that 46 per cent of parents agree that their child's mental health has suffered for the first time ever as a result of the pandemic.“
Throughout the various lockdowns Razzamataz Thurrock has continued to reach out to children and parents through small, live classes, online social activities and special workshops with coaches to support wellbeing and mental health.
“It is no surprise to us that parents have concerns over their children’s wellbeing,” says Kasey.
“Lack of structure, limited chance to exercise and increased screen time can all have a detrimental effect on children’s mental health.
“However, as a theatre school, this is something we are very aware of and we have put a lot of thought, time and effort into building back resilience, which first and foremost includes making sure the students are having fun.”
Razzamataz Thurrock, which is part of the national chain that came to public attention in 2007 when founder Denise Hutton-Gosney took her project into the BBC’s Dragons’ Den and earned an equity deal with entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne who took a £50,000 25 per cent stake in Razzamataz. is set to open its doors to students from September 2021 and will follow all Government advice and will be taking extra precautions in terms of health and safety to keep students, families and the wider communities safe.
While the engagement in the online lessons and masterclasses, including a session with Strictly champion Oti Mabuse, has been extremely high, nothing can beat getting kids back into the classrooms.
“We are now focusing on the future for our students and looking at ways we can help them achieve their dreams, whatever they may be,” adds Kasey. “Not being in school has led to a loss in confidence for many and for older students, this can have a worrying impact on their future life decisions.”
Kasey believes the performing arts has so many benefits for children and young people; teaching them life skills, improved communication and ways in which they can express themselves.
“Over the last year, students have missed out on the usual opportunities that the classroom provides,” she told Thurrock Nub News. “Reading aloud, presenting ideas in front of the class and expressing opinions are all things that have taken a back seat while schools have been closed. We know that performing arts can give young people the confidence to articulate their ideas and we can’t wait to start working with them to help in these areas.”
For young people that dream of a life as a professional performer, Razzamataz is once again offering to support them with financial assistance through the theatre school’s very own charity, the Future Fund.
“We want to give young people something to aim for and be excited about again,” says Kasey.
“Our students have shown such resilience by continuing with their training from home and working really hard to maintain their fitness. We are delighted to once again be gearing up to hold our Future Fund auditions in the summer. Every year we have a panel of industry professionals from the stage and screen, and this year is no exception. We want young people to believe in themselves again and we will do all we can to help make this happen.”
The winners of the Future Fund scholarships will receive financial grants from money raised by the entire Razzamataz network through fundraising activities. This will be used to go towards their further education in the arts.
There is still opportunity to join Razzamataz, with age groups ranging from three to 18. For new students, booking for the first free trial session is essential. To find out more, contact Kasey or Jessica on 07904111179, email [email protected] or visit the Razzamataz website.