Inspirational Sheffield teenagers give up time to pass on dancing passion

Georgia Evans, Elicia Case, Shanay Liversidge and Ruby Cunliffe at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville
Georgia Evans, Elicia Case, Shanay Liversidge and Ruby Cunliffe at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville
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You could be forgiven for thinking that these girls would be tucked up in bed at 9am on a Saturday.

But not these Sheffield 14-year-olds. Ruby Cunliffe, Elicia Case, Georgia Evans and Shanay Liversidge are up bright and early to give up a huge chunk of time to teach young children to dance.

Georgia Evans, Elicia Case, Shanay Liversidge and  Ruby Cunliffe along with some young dancers at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville

Georgia Evans, Elicia Case, Shanay Liversidge and Ruby Cunliffe along with some young dancers at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville

They spend so much time at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville, that they often complete homework between classes and call the place their ‘second home’.

As they stop to chat between sessions in an old church hall, it’s obvious their passion is dance.

Some of the girls started dancing at the age of three and now have moved up the ranks to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

Practising and performing for so many hours a week has been a positive distraction from the pressures of growing up.

Georgia Evans, Elicia Case, Shanay Liversidge and  Ruby Cunliffe along with some young dancers at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville

Georgia Evans, Elicia Case, Shanay Liversidge and Ruby Cunliffe along with some young dancers at Stepz Dance Academy on Churchdale Road in Frecheville

“Dancing definitely gets us off the streets, we could be out most nights messing about with friends,” said Ruby, who has just moved to the new UTC at Don Valley.

And the others agree. The girls spend around 60 hours a week between them, either dancing or teaching children as young as two or three with the Disco Ducks group.

The girls say it’s all about having fun and working towards their annual show which attracts hundreds of proud parents and relatives.

Ruby said: “I love dancing and I love helping others to dance like we do.

Shanay, Elica, Ruby and Georgia watch on as the young dancers go through their latest routine

Shanay, Elica, Ruby and Georgia watch on as the young dancers go through their latest routine

“We looked up to older girls who were like us a few years ago and it’s nice for the younger kids to look up to us.”

Elicia, who attends Westfield School, said: “They were an inspiration and made us better dancers and we want to do the same for the young ones we’ve got now.”

Georgia added: “It makes us feel proud that they look up to us, we all love what we do and we want to give something back.

“You feel like you’ve got this responsibility, they respect you and hang on your every word. You get to know them and their personalities and I think you make them better dancers that way.”

The girls get involved teaching the young dancers the latest routine

The girls get involved teaching the young dancers the latest routine

When their annual show comes around at Magna, the girls are needed more than ever. Along with parents, they will help out in up to 15 dances.

“We all help out as much as we can backstage. It’s absolutely crazy with all the changes and making sure everyone is all right,” said Shanay, who goes to Birley Community College.

“We come on stage with them and encourage them as much as we can.”

Georgia added: “You’re under pressure a bit because you’ve got to learn all your dances and help the younger ones, then it comes to the day and it’s brilliant.

“You look back and go ‘I really enjoyed that’, everyone does, it’s a great set of people at Stepz.”

Elicia said: “It’s made us more mature, you take a lot more responsibility because we look after the little ones.

The girls check on the group under the watchful eye of Stepz boss Kirsty Brown

The girls check on the group under the watchful eye of Stepz boss Kirsty Brown

“It’s a big achievement, it’s hard to describe when the little ones learn a routine. You help them learn and know you were a part of them learning and that is a great feeling.”

But with all the dancing, it’s difficult to fit school work in, especially as they are now working towards GCSEs. But the group of four seem to successfully juggle an increasing school workload and a hectic dance schedule.

“I’m here more than I am at home, especially after school,” Shanay said.

“Some of us will come here straight from school, grab a quick bite to eat then we help with the younger ones and then do our sessions straight after.”

Ruby added: “I work my dance around my school work. Some of us come early and we sit and do our homework. If we get days free, we try and do it all straight away because you don’t know when you can do it because we dance so much. This place is like my second home.”