Lots of you will recognise the name Kelly Terranova as the brains and beauty behind the wonderful Love Yourself Lean journals that have taken the county, region and indeed country by storm as a fantastic way to celebrate your whole self and understand that happiness and health are all about balance. But you may not know that before the journals Kelly established a fantastic Cheltenham resource which has supported hundreds of families in Cheltenham to become fitter, happier and more confident over the last nine years. In this interview Kelly talks about being an expectant mum in business and gives us an introduction to her dance school Anneli Dance and why we should all be dancing for health and happiness.
CMHQ: So Kelly – pleasure to meet you properly at last. You’re a CheltenhamMaman to be – how are you feeling?
Kelly: I’m ok! Very pleased to be expecting a little boy due in July but still working really hard! The journals have been such a huge success and I’m so proud of how much happiness they are bringing to people all over the place. I teach most evenings in the dance school too so I’m certainly sleeping well!
CMHQ: I’m a new mum to a little girl so will be all over ballet lessons in a couple of years but I also think my boys would really have benefitted from some of your street dance classes over the years even if it was just to dispose of some energy! I didn’t even know you were here in Cheltenham! Tell us about Anneli….?
Kelly: I started Anneli nine years ago from Woodmancote Village Hall. I’d studied theatre and always loved the performing arts. After uni I moved to London because it was the done thing but I hated it and moved back home after just six months. I started teaching dance to small groups as something to do while I searched for a ‘real’ job. It didn’t take long for me to realise that there was such a need for it locally and over the years it’s grown and grown – we’ve moved premises twice and now we operate from a three studio premises just behind the Kingsditch retail park (in the trading estate opposite Booker.) We also have a satellite studio in Brockworth that we teach from on Tuesdays.
CMHQ: And what kind of students do you cater for?
Kelly: Everyone! We take children as young as three and our eldest student is in her late fifties. People have a ‘Dance Moms’ style preconception that dance studios are exclusively for size six ballerinas and mums with highlights and perfect lip gloss. We couldn’t be further from that stereotype. We have mums who come to classes with their children – where else can you do something fun and active together – many of our classes are suitable for beginners with no dance experiences and basic levels of fitness.
We have over 40 classes on offer – our preschool classes are really popular and are a great introduction to dance for little ones. We do contemporary dance for the little ones or street dance or a Disney Musical Theatre themed class. For the primary school aged children we offer cheerleading, commercial dance, krumping, house and locking and gymnastics.
The older children are spoiled for choice – they can do all of the classes above and more – there are just too many to list – better to take a look at the class timetable. Classes for year 8 to adults include lyrical hip hop, waacking and voguing, classical, dancehall, commercial and musical theatre and just for adults we do street dance, contemporary and dance hall. This video was poking fun at eighties dance vibes and shows just how relaxed and non pretentious dance school we are.
CMHQ: And is it just girls who dance with you?
Kelly: No way! We have plenty of boys and they are welcomed with open arms. I’m really lucky that I have a male instructor, Louis which can make it much easier to get boys to overcome their fear and walk through the door. Our classes are hugely beneficial for children who are struggling in life for a variety of reasons. Teenage frustration? Dance is the perfect outlet for it. Anxiety or self esteem issues? – we’ve helped so many kids overcome these. Lots of people associate eating disorders and serious competition with dance schools. That couldn’t be further from the truth at Anneli. Kids and Adults come to our classes to build self esteem and make new friends – our students come in all different shapes, sizes, colours and have so many different personalities. Walking through our doors can be one of the most positive things you can do.
CMHQ: You talk about friendships – do children not come along in groups that already know each other?
Kelly: No not at all. Particularly when they are at primary schools they come from all over Cheltenham. The amazing thing then is that they move up to secondary schools and find that lots of their dance mates are at their schools! They also get looked after by the older children in the school that recognise they are part of the Anneli family – we really are a family.
They also get to work together to achieve special productions twice a year – there is something so special about putting on our christmas or summer productions (the summer one is at The Bacon Theatre) together – we all have such a sense of achievement when the audience are on their feet clapping and we know we’ve all done it together.
CMHQ: For the Mums that are just looking for an excuse to get out the house, have a bit of fun and exercise what do you offer?
Kelly: Well they can either join any of the adult appropriate dance classes or we do three dedicated fitness classes a week – in fact we’ve got a deal where you can do all three fitness classes for £25 a month – potentially that’s 12 or 13 classes a month – imagine how fit you’d be! The point is it’s not just about the kids at Anelli – why should we let them have all the fun?
CMHQ: What do the dance classes cost?
Kelly: We have lots of different price plans but ballpark for the infant classes you can expect to pay £18 a month and at the other end of the spectrum we offer a family price plan for £100 a month. All of our plans are on a month by month basis and you just need to give us a month’s notice to cancel. Our fitness sessions you can also do pay as you go at £6 a session.
CMHQ: So where did the Love Yourself Lean element come into it?
Kelly: I was prepping for the Easter holidays and asked some of the students what they wanted to do. They wanted to do a sort of beach ready fitness boot camp and it dawned on me that these young girls particularly can be really image focused but they just don’t understand that happiness and confidence isn’t all about exercise or diet – to truly be happy and healthy you have to attain balance in everything – so I set to work on teaching them the importance of self love, nutrition, mental health and exercise and how they are all parts of a puzzle that rely on one another. The journal really evolved from that point and I couldn’t have anticipated how much people would value the ethos behind it. I’ve always known it was the right message but I’m so glad to see others now see it too.
CMHQ: And what next for you now Maman?
Kelly: Well I finish work after the summer showcase in June ready to have my little man. I plan to take a term off and am so lucky to have some fantastic staff to hold the fort for me. I’ll be back in the New Year and hopefully will see some new, happy, dancing faces in the studio. Your readers are so very welcome.
CMHQ: Thanks Kelly for taking the time to talk to us. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and thanks for helping us all be happier and healthier.
To find out more about Anneli Dance classes and for timetables visit the website. You can also contact Kelly directly via email@example.com or on her mobile 07876 353464. You can also read Kelly’s blog from last year all about the Love Yourself Lean journals here.