The Jessie-Leigh Dance and Cheer Academy (JLDC) is based in Gosport and has a variety of teams. It welcomes children from two years to adults of all levels.
The founders of the academy are husband-and-wife duo Jessie-Leigh and Mark Metelko. The couple met in Edinburgh in 2012 and started the dance and joy program when Jessie-Leigh left Australia for the UK in 2015.
Co-owner and Head Coach Jessie-Leigh said: “We love the sport, but we just want to train good people. Having good ethics and building strong, independent athletes, preparing them for the rest of their lives is the thing. most important to us.
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Jessie-Leigh introduced her love of dance to co-owner and husband Mark, of Gosport, who embraced the sport and is now the head coach of stunts and tumbling at the Academy.
“I think we’re both playing on each other’s strengths,” Mark said.
Last year two hip-hop teams and an academy cheerleader team won places to represent England at the Summit, the Varsity All Star World Championships, which were held in Florida, in April 2022.
Competition is the highest attainable point for cheerleaders before an Olympic level. The groups will face the best in the world and the winners will be crowned world champions.
The competitors, who train two to three times a week, finalize the championship routines this week and plan to introduce them to family and friends at a “polar preview” on December 18.
“They’re nervous, but the consensus is that they’re really excited, for some of these kids it’s their first time on a plane,” Jessie-Leigh says.
Out of a total of around 250 members, 44 members of the JLDC Academy have been invited to attend the Summit next year, a trip priced at £ 91,000.
Mark and Jessie-Leigh along with other Academy coaches will accompany the young athletes to the competition in Florida, in part to ease the financial burden on families.
“For a lot of families financially this is such a big commitment for them, we tried to raise as much money as possible,” Jessie-Leigh said.
The dance group has led multiple fundraising efforts, such as bingo nights, bake sales, nightclubs and their latest campaign will see Academy members bathe on New Year’s Day in the sea at Gosport.
The dancing duo say winning isn’t the most important thing for them and their teams, they just want their athletes to have fun.
“We’re just going to go there to achieve our goals and create memories that will last forever,” Jessie-Leigh said.
To learn more about the JLDC Academy, visit jldcuk.com
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