Inspirational mums give up their day jobs to teach babies how to dance


Jan 23, 2018

They had no prior dance experience but are now leading the way in dancing for babies and toddlers in the city

Two mums quit their 'mundane' day jobs and decided to set up their very own baby and toddler dance classes.

Liz Kelly, 35, and Rachael Martin 36, met at an anti-natal class five years ago and quickly formed a firm friendship.

Both bored of their jobs in sales, one as a travel agent and the other selling ball bearings, they decided to set up a dance class with a twist.

The pair had visited a baby sensory session and the moving class inspired them to make a change and want to work with children.

After hearing about franchise Diddi Dance which specialises in the teaching of 16 different forms of dance to both boys and girls, they began training to start their own business.

Liz, from Plympton and Rachael, from Hooe, were lacking the dance background many would assume was needed but that did not stop them.

With months of intense training they quickly found their rhythm.

In September 2016, the inspiring women began with three classes and have since expanded due to popular demand and are running 10 Diddi Dance sessions a week.

These run across the city and beyond, including Plympton, Ivybridge, Tavistock and Saltash for ages 18 months up to five years.

The business partners have recently received two awards for their efforts including "fastest growing franchise" from Diddi Dance and "best business start up" in Woolwell.

The ladies told The Herald: "It's the best move we've ever made from jobs we just weren't happy in. We just saw a gap in the market and there's just nothing like it this side of Bristol.

"It was a bit daunting and a lot of pressure at first but we've had some of the same people with us from the start so the results speak for themselves."

Rachael added: "We just loved the fact that it was something completely different because we just felt that there wasn't really anything available for boys.

"Seeing the little kid's faces light up is what we do it for and most of them come in so shy so it's lovely to see their progress."

Diddi Dance teaches a different style each half term including hip-hop, jive, flamenco, country, bollywood and salsa to name a few.

And classes have been cleverly put together by not only a professional dancer but a child psychologist, meaning that each move the child is encouraged to make, is co-ordinated in a bid to help them develop both emotionally and physically.

"The parents come to us and say they can't believe the change in their children in just a few short weeks," Liz said. "The lessons really help them to grow in confidence as well as build on their social skills and with obesity levels being so high it's important to get them moving."

But the classes don't just benefit the babies and children who attend, adults are encouraged to be actively involved also.

"Many of the parents are apprehensive to get involved at first but as soon as one does there's no stopping them," Rachael added. "But it means great one-on-one time and bonding with their child that they may not be able to have at home."

The action packed, full-of-fun 45-minute dance classes were devised by Anne-Marie Martin, a professional dancer with over 20 years teaching experience.

After running Diddi Dance for over 10 years in London, Anne-Marie has inspired people in 40 locations across the UK to start their own, with more opening up all the time.

Sessions are currently priced at £5.50 for a 45 minute dance class with 40 per cent off for siblings.