An award-winning Nottingham dance studio, located in the city center since the 1930s, will move in July. Summers Knight Dance Studio has been based on the second floor of Emmanuel House but will now move to Woodthorpe. The dance studio is located on the second floor while the ground floor was used for Nottingham homeless community support services.
Sarah Summers and her husband Stephen took over the studio which was originally called Roy and Mary Knight’s. Sarah’s parents took over the Jepsons’ studio and became champion dancers.
“The studio means so much to a lot of people in Nottingham who have come here over the years. Emmanuel House wants to make changes, which I can’t blame them for wanting to do. It’s so sad because it’s a studio since the 1930s when the Jepsons opened it. My dad learned to dance here, I met my mom here, and I also met my husband here,” Sarah said.
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She added: “My parents are champion dancers and we are also world champion award winning dancers. We have continued as a dance hall because it means so much to so many people. I am very emotional about this. as there are many memories of people coming here.It is a big part of Nottingham history as it is the last remaining ballroom.
The dance studio has been around since the 1930s when it opened as a pool hall above Burton’s tailor shop. It became a dance studio when Ann and Bill Jepson took it over. Sarah’s grandparents worked at the Jepsons’ studio and her father learned to dance there. Parents brought their children who in turn brought theirs to the studio over the generations.
Sarah described the studio as a “second home” for her as she grew up learning to dance at the studio. It has always offered a bit of every type of dance over the years, including Latin, ballroom and street, but no tap. As tap dancing can ruin wooden dance floors, Sarah’s parents were adamant that tap dancing would not be included to preserve studio floors.
Sarah said: “My husband was a professional dancer who came to the studio to sell dancing shoes and my mum introduced us. We have been married for 27 years and dance together. We have three world titles competing together. When my parents died suddenly, we took it over in their honor.”
She added: “We have found a new studio which will open in July. It’s the end of an era and a shock because it’s been part of the city for so long. It’s going to be so sad when we finally close the doors. for the last time. I don’t think I can’t even bear to go past. However, I understand that things have to change, evolve with the times and it’s for a good cause.”
The new studio will be in Woodthorpe on Gedling Road. Sarah originally had a dance studio in Woodthorpe which her parents helped her establish. She feels like it’s a homecoming.
“My parents really wanted me to have a local here so it’s like we’ve been back which is good. It’s being built on Gedling Road at the moment and it’s going to be lovely when it’s finished. It there may not be a story but it sounds like something my parents wanted me to do.”
The studio will host a farewell dance for all those who have danced onsite in decades past on Sunday, June 26 with an adult session from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and then a family dance from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is ticket only and tickets cost £5 per person in advance. There will also be a launch party on Sunday July 3 from 1 to 3 p.m.
“We wanted to give everyone who has danced at the studio over the years a chance to come and say goodbye. Emmanuel House was great and gave us plenty of time to clear the room. We could lose customers because of the new location, but many will travel with us and we will gain new ones as well.”
Emmanuel House is currently a day support service for the homeless community, but they do not currently offer beds. The decision to provide accommodation is still at an exploratory stage and will mean fundraising and changes for the charity.
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Emmanuel House Managing Director Denis Tully said: “The School of Dance has been part of Emmanuel House for many years and has a fantastic tradition of community service. It has a successful history and it It’s unfortunate that she won it’s not part of the building.”
He added: “We are looking into the possibility of using the floors for emergency accommodation. The decision has not yet been made as we are in an exploratory phase. Our intention would be emergency accommodation if it is possible.”
Denis pointed out that there was a housing shortage in Nottingham, particularly when it comes to short-term quick turnaround beds for those in need.
“There is a huge need for short-term and rapid accommodation for those who find themselves homeless and need help finding accommodation. The rising cost of living and financial pressures on families increase the risk of homelessness.