The London Academy of Gymnastics & Dance (LAGAD) was founded 2009 and this year they celebrate 10 years of delivering gymnastics and dance classes in the local community.
In 2009 Jessica Shenton, mother of two young boys, was approached by her former Ballet teacher to take over her adult Ballet classes in North London. As a former Royal Ballet School trained teacher and qualified Gymnastics coach, Jessica agreed to run these classes. The classes were a big success and attracted a crowd of day time dancing Mums.
Then, whilst teaching the adults ballet on Fridays, a local primary school came looking for an after school Gymnastics Coach. With this and subsequent school enquiries LAGAD was born.
It is widely accepted that children benefit enormously from physical activity. As a sport, gymnastics requires balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination as well as endurance, control and stamina. Regular classes like these offer children a great way to enjoy getting fit and being active. Jessica said that she was loving what she was doing, but at no point was this planned to become a company. It was fun and she wanted to provide a high quality service for children that was organised and offered a developmental pathway.
In 2011, a team of elite gymnasts were looking for a new home and they approached Jessica to take them under their wing, thus was born LAGAD RG, a separate not for profit elite programme for Rhythmic Gymnasts.
10 years on, LAGAD has 5 full time staff, 50 freelancers and a Head Office in Muswell Hill. They offer classes in North, West and South West London. Some of the coaches are the best in the business, with a number of former Olympians and World Championship Competitors. Quality coaching and bringing out the best in every child is at the heart of the business;
“What we try to do differently is to make sure that our selected team members not only love what they do, but they are fully qualified, experienced and knowledgeable. This comes at a price, but it is well worthwhile.’’
Jessica still loves coaching, her proudest moments have not necessarily been the dizzying heights of LAGAD girls being selected for Team GB or for the World Championships (which have all been great), but when each child achieves their very first cartwheel, handstand or headstand balance. ‘’To see that smile and pride written all over their face is my highlight and a feel-great buzz that cannot be replaced’. As for the adult ballet classes that first started LAGAD, they are still going 10 years on.
LAGAD is British Gymnastics and OFSTED registered. Classes run at two venues in the Chelsea/South Kensington area. Coaches are highly trained and qualified and they work in small groups (one coach per 8 children). Trial classes are available so that children can find out for themselves if the classes are the right fit.
Classes in SW3 run on Saturdays for children aged 3½ to 16 years at the following venues:
Chelsea Methodist Church, 155a King’s Road, London SW3 5TX
Marlborough Primary School, Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AP
Book a Trial Class online or contact the office with any queries.
British Gymnastics and OFSTED registered.
For more information check www.lagad.co.uk
Tel: 0208 883 4675