19th May 2020

The family that taps together, stays together

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Family is at the very core of Mareli School of Dance ever since Jo’s mom, Judy, founded it in 1971. So, when they saw our National Tapathon, Jo signed them up so they could come together, whilst remaining apart, in memory of her nan.

“When I first found out about the tapathon, I signed our school up straightaway. I thought it would be a great way of uniting our school during the pandemic whilst supporting a great cause.

Our school, Mareli School of Dance was founded by my mom in 1971. The name is a mashup of my dad’s name, Martin and Mom’s middle name, Elizabeth – Mareli. It has always been very much a family affair!

We teach a wide variety of dance styles – ballet, modern, musical theatre, commercial and tap. We have around 140 pupils, starting from just 18 months old up to some in their mid-sixties It’s a big spread.

Over the years, we’ve welcomed back countless ‘grown up pupils’ who are now bringing their own children to our dance classes. Others return to join in our adult dance classes. Some of our dancers have been with us for over 40 years and we have three generations of one family in our school.

This is one of the things we’re most proud of; we feel our sense of family, friendship and kindness is what sets us apart. Dance friends can truly be friends for life.

Family is really important to us. It’s one of the other reasons we signed up for the tapathon. My nan (Mom’s mom) died of lung cancer last November. She was 91 and a huge part of our dance school. She loved to help Mom with the admin side and was still ‘doing the books’ just a few weeks before she died. Life’s not the same but doing this and raising money in her memory helps. I think she would have liked the idea of the tapathon.

It’s all about pulling together at the minute, isn’t it and supporting one another. That’s what the spirit of our school is all about.

I also work in the NHS and think it’s so important to continue to raise awareness of non-COVID related illnesses and causes. As devastating and awful as this pandemic is, it is deeply upsetting when you think about the impact COVID is having on cancer patients.

It’s obviously causing a lot of anxiety and fear so charities like Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation are even more vital. And if we can help then why wouldn’t we, especially when it’s doing something we all love so much?”

To donate to Mareli School of Dance tapathon challenge, click here.