Evolve Education staff member Elizabeth Neave, an ex professional dancer herself, was very active in helping Calderdale College Dance Academy to open its doors in September 2006 offering a unique opportunity to gain professional dance training while pursuing academic studies.
Elizabeth and Evolve Director Graham Morgan had helped form the new partnership with Evolve Education in June 2007, having set up the project when working with Navigator Sports, and Calderdale College to create an elite learning experience in the field of dance. This was then brought into being through an Association with Dorothy Stevens MBE, who accepted the position of Artistic Director of CCDA.
From this partnership CCDA were able to employ ex-professional dancers from highly qualified backgrounds to teach the students entering the Academy.
CCDA was officially launched in March 2007 at Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax by Special Guest of Honour, Daniel Hinchliffe who started his training with Dorothy Stevens in Halifax, later accepting places at the Royal Ballet Upper School and the Italia Conti Academy. Daniel went on to an acclaimed career in dance, theatre and film.
At its inception CCDA started with just 7 dedicated students though by the second year this number had risen to 17. The intake has thrived again and just as CCDA is in its third academic year it has welcomed 27 new students to this unique dance experience. Elizabeth is fully involved as a ballet teacher for the Calderdale Dance Academy two days per week.
Since February 2008 CCDA has been very busy encouraging the crowds at Halifax RLFC whereby they are the official cheerleading squad by special request of Carnegie, the sporting element of Leeds Metropolitan University, who sponsor the club.
Also in February 2008 Sakoba Dance Theatre invited CCDA to join them at a workshop when the company was performing in Halifax. Bode Lawal, Director of Sakoba, was so impressed at their professionalism he invited CCDA to join the company on stage in one of their performances in Halifax and then again in April at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London which has given the students an enormous insight to the life of a professional dancer.
In June 2008 CCDA had an evening of performance and awards to mark the end of the year and to mark the success of the second years and to say goodbye to them. The performance was an immense success and enjoyed by performers and audience alike. Bode Lawal re-joined CCDA in Halifax to be their Special Guest of Honour for the occasion and give out the awards. He also awarded two students that had impressed him so much from the performance, the opportunity to work alongside his company dancers in their forthcoming rehearsals during the summer.
The inception intakes of 2006 that have now completed their training with CCDA have been successful in furthering their dance careers in the following:
Professional Dancer – Euro Disney
Professional Dancer – Nidd Hall, Harrogate
Dance Degree at Leeds Metropolitan University
Dance Teacher at a local dance school
Further Dance Studies at Pendleton College Performing Arts
In October 2008 the current first and second years performed by special request at the 75th Anniversary of Carnegie at Leeds Metropolitan University.