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Who We Are

Established in 2004 by Janet Seymour as the ‘School of Theatre Dance’ we are proud to have developed a community of dance throughout Swaledale and Wensleydale. Under the new direction of Hannah Smith, Dales Dance delivers high quality performing arts classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Musical Theatre to over 200 children and adults from 3 years.

We aim to bring out the full potential of every student - whether they wish to pursue the arts as a career or a hobby - by nurturing their passion, encouraging their dedication, building their resilience and celebrating their enjoyment of dance and theatre.

Our students are at the heart of everything we do and we passionately believe no person should be deprived of opportunity because of where they live. This is why we bring our classes to you.

Our Locations

Swaledale: Reeth, Low Row, Gunnerside

Wensleydale: Leyburn, Aysgarth, Askrigg, Hawes.

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Hannah M Smith RAD RTS AISTD


Head of Tap, Jazz, and Musical Theatre 

Enhanced DBS & First Aid Trained

Hannah began dancing at the age of 3, studying ballet, tap, jazz and later contemporary and commercial dance. At aged 10 she joined Janet Seymour’s School of Theatre Dance in Reeth where she discovered her love for performing and lay the foundations for her future career.

Supported by her rural training in the dales, she successfully auditioned for North Yorkshire Dance, a youth training programme under the artistic direction of Donald Edwards, founding member of Phoenix Dance Company. At the same time, she was selected for the Northern Associates of the England Tap Team, ‘Tap Attack’ based in Manchester.

Hannah Smith

In 2015 Hannah successfully auditioned for the Internationally renowned ‘Bird College Conservatoire’ in London to study Professional Dance and Musical Theatre. It was here she received world class training in all genres of performing arts, including acting and singing and studied for her Diploma in Dance Teaching (DDI) with the ISTD.

Hannah has taught professionally for 5 years both overseas and in the UK, gaining her Registered Teacher status from the Royal Academy of Dance in 2020. She has a 100% success rate for every student entered into examinations.

Hannah returned to the Dales in 2020 to teach dance and musical theatre to Janet Seymour’s students. In August 2022 she accepted ownership of Janet’s School of Theatre Dance and created ‘Dales Dance School of Performing Arts’ where she will continue the legacy of providing rural children with the highest quality of dance and musical theatre training.



Head of Ballet

Enhanced DBS & First Aid Trained

Janet began dancing at the age of 3, studying ballet, tap, jazz and theatre arts at the Whittaker Dance and Drama Centre in Blackpool and now has over 40 years of professional teaching experience. She studied and gained her Registered Teacher status at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), London. She also achieved her Licentiate Status, becoming a specialist in classical ballet.

In 1979 she moved to Germany to introduce the work of the RAD in Europe with only a handful of other qualified teachers. Her work is one of the many reasons the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus is the only ballet curriculum recognised by the state.

Janet Seymour

From 1985 to 2006 Janet ran her own ballet school in Dietzenbach with over 300 students. Many of these students are dancing and teaching professionally all over the world and still keep in touch today for advice - something Janet is especially proud of. Janet passed her school in Germany to former student Sim Aktel when she moved home to England.

After returning to England in 2004 she saw a need for arts education in the Dales and began teaching dance classes in Reeth, Swaledale. Established for 18 years, the small rural school expanded across Swaledale and Wensleydale to cater for its 200+ students of all ages.

Janet passed her school to former student Hannah Smith in August 2022 and continues to teach all genres for the newly formed Dales Dance as well as tutor privately.

Dance Exams

At Dales Dance, we offer dance examinations to all of our students who reach the required standard. We believe they are a powerful tool for measuring a child’s progress and development while giving them a strong sense of achievement and pride in their work.

Our tap and jazz students have the opportunity to take examinations with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). Beginning at a Pre-Primary level, the ISTD syllabus is designed to promote a child’s enjoyment and appreciation of dance whilst providing an outlet for self-expression and performance.

Dance Exams

Our ballet students are given the opportunity to be entered for examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), the largest institution for classical ballet training worldwide. From Pre-Primary to Grade Eight the syllabus is designed to meet the physical, emotional and artistic potential of the children and young people at every age. Students who wish to study ballet more seriously and with the possible notion of pursuing a career in dance later can follow the Vocational Curriculum in which they will study pointe work.