Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Jubilee2 has become the base for an elite training scheme for ballet dancers.

Two large dance studios, featuring wooden sprung floors, soundproofing, a floor length mirror and moveable wall, are just what Nicky Henshall was looking for to accommodate the growth of Staffordshire Youth Ballet (SYB) which offers monthly masterclasses, workshops and performance opportunities for aspiring dancers aged between seven and 18. Nicky, a professional dancer and teacher, took over the running of the organisation from her former dance teacher, Marye Humphreys, four years ago.

Sunday classes will feature appearances from excellent guest teachers who have had successful careers within the arts. One of them is Daniel Jones (SYB patron), from Clayton, who performed with Nicky at the English National Ballet. Daniel already runs a separate ballet programme at Jubilee2. Students have to pass an audition before they’re accepted on the intensive training scheme and are grouped together according to their age and ability.

Nicky Henshall

Nicky, 28, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, trained at The Royal Ballet School and is an Independent Dance Artist living in London. She said: “I’m really pleased that Jubilee2 is our new home. We had outgrown our old premises and needed somewhere with more space, excellent facilities and in a convenient location. Jubilee2 fitted the bill perfectly. There aren’t many venues in the area with two big studios. It’s a really nice space to work in. The area has produced quite a few professional dancers – a fact I’m really proud of as the industry is extremely hard to succeed in – so it’s great to work together to pass on our considerable experience and knowledge to young dancers who live here.”

Cllr. Mark Holland, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “I’m delighted that Jubilee2 is able to help Staffordshire Youth Ballet grow and reach the next level, just like Nicky does with her students. Her excellent training scheme allows the most talented young dancers to attend specialist sessions without having to travel further afield and is also an exciting addition to Jubilee2’s existing ballet programme delivered by Daniel Jones. When Jubilee2 was designed, there was an aspiration that it offered something different, catered for a wide range of activities and wasn’t just another traditional leisure centre. The size and quality of the studios are second to none and are regarded as among the best in North Staffordshire and beyond.”

Other facilities at Jubilee2 include a 25-metre swimming pool, training pool, 110-station gym, spinning studio, aqua sauna, climbing wall, enhanced showers and toilets for disabled visitors and a café. It hosts children’s parties, aqua fitness sessions and more than 60 group exercise classes a week. For more information, visit or call 01782 616606.

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