Work-based Learning Toolkit and Partnership Plans

Malone Dance Academy, Ireland – Silver Swans Ballet

Who are Malone Dance Academy?

Founded in 2003, Malone Dance Academy Ltd has grown to a purpose-built dance studio in Dundalk and most recently expanded their business into Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.  Cheryl Malone, Principal at Malone Dance Academy offers Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary Dance, Gymnastics, Musical Theatre, Yoga, Acrobatics and Tap.

Who is the target market traditionally?

Over the years the main target has been children and adolescents.  Both boys and girls attend classes across the academy.  Cheryl is an accredited and fully qualified teacher, instructor, examiner and lecturer.

Identifying the Gap

Accessing Big Data – gave Malone Dance Academy a new potential segment to market to

As an examiner with The Royal Academy of Dance, Cheryl was introduced to “Silver Swans®”.  Specially designed for older learners, Silver Swans® ballet classes help improve mobility, posture, co-ordination and energy levels, specifically for, though not exclusively, for over 55s.

Traditionally classes take place in Malone Dance Academy after school.  Silver Swans® represented the potential to use the purpose-built studios during the morning and early afternoon.

On the Job Training took place to allow Cheryl to become a Licensed provider for The Royal Dance Academy Silver Swans®.

Bricolage expanded the offering

Through experimentation and product development, Cheryl and her team added to the initial Ballet Offering, introducing new levels of experimentation and expertise to each group.  She observed their enthusiasm and interest at each point and enhanced the Silver Swans® class to offer so much more than she had originally thought.  The groups were so delighted with the concept that they asked for more and more to be added.

The health benefits of dance are well documented. Research by Royal Academy of Dance highlighted that 75% of the factors affecting quality of life and longevity are related to lifestyle, while only 25% are hereditary. Ballet and dance are also very social activities and Silver Swans® classes can be great places to meet new people with a passion and joy for life.

Ballet dancing helps strengthen and improve posture, reducing age debilitating conditions like arthritis and joint pain significantly.

Crossover Learning & Incidental Learning

What began as a class to increase flexibility, tone up and strengthen the core also unveiled new benefits for all its attendees.  In ballet dancers get to move along with music and make repeated patterns with their bodies and use a lot of “brain power” to remember the steps and to coordinate the different body parts. This has shown to improve memory across all the groups.

Age Brings Opportunity: Cheryl is pictured here with students from her adult dance class. Photo: Vaidotas Maneikis

Benefits & Opportunities

Through Silver Swans® classes, Malone Dance Academy has an almost fully booked timetable from 10am to evening classes.  Teacher at the Academy have also benefited from the change of age profile, letting them try new methods, introduce new themes and movements to a new generation.

Another benefit Cheryl has witnessed is children at classes now have their parent or grandparent attending a class in a room nearby.  Several classes are now offered across the week day and week-ends.  Many new children have joined the Academy since their older family member took up Ballet Dance as a form of exercise and social engagement.

Cheryl would actively encourage businesses to look innovatively and positively at engaging with The Silver Economy as it has brought a new fresh dimension to her successful business.

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