A DANCE teacher who always dreamed of running her own ballet school is now finally experiencing it in reality.

Rachel Gordon set up Cumbria Ballet School in September last year and as she marked her first year she said she was thrilled with how it had taken off.

Rachel, 47, who previously jointly owned Cumbria Dance, launched Cumbria Ballet School as a new business as she wanted to focus solely on teaching ballet.

Former pupil and qualified dance teacher Jayne Fullerton, of Cotehill, took over the modern and tap lessons and also started her own business JF Dance Works.

Both dance schools now operate from Cumbria Dance Studio in Atlas Works, Denton Holme, Carlisle.

"It was a dream of mine to have my own ballet school, which is what my mum used to have," said Rachel, of Wigton.

Her mother Barbara Renel ran a ballet school in London before taking over Celia Baxter's dance school when they moved to Cumbria, when Rachel was 12.

A dancer since she was three, Rachel went on to complete her ballet teacher training. She was a primary school teacher in Dearham for 15 years and worked with pre-school aged children before that.

When it came to dance, she wanted what she does with ballet to stand out as a speciality.

"It's quite exciting to come up with a new look and a new brand and start from scratch. Everything else I inherited from Cumbria Dance.

"This feels mine and it's where my expertise lies," she said.

"I just wanted to focus on what I was doing and Jayne was perfectly capable of doing what she does without me as part of it.

"It was to give her the opportunity to run things how she wanted to run things and have her own dance school and brand."

Jayne, 27, who is also a full-time teacher at Stanwix Primary School, in Carlisle, has loved dancing since she was a child and joined Cumbria Dance, aged five.

She continued to train there until she was 18 before moving to Leeds to complete a dance degree.

Jayne started her teacher training in modern and tap when she moved home. She worked in primary schools around the county for three years teaching curriculum dance and doing after school clubs and then went on to complete her primary teacher training.

She now teaches 50 pupils across five dance classes on Tuesdays between 4.30pm and 9pm.

Jayne said: "It was hard work to start with but it's lifted off. It's been really successful and I've got new people wanting to join all the time.

"When I was little I had always wanted to have a dance school] but with doing primary teaching you think there's no time.

"It has been something I have always wanted to do I just didn't think it would happen. I love it."

This year Rachel has had three pupils head off to follow their own dreams and study dance or musical theatre full-time.

Lewis Logie, 19, a former William Howard School Pupil, who only worked with Rachel for a year, has gone on to study at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Erin Harkins, 18, has gone to study at The Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, while Rowan Gallagher has moved to London to attend Trinity Laban.

Two ex-pupils Sophie McPherson and Annie Lewis also went off to study musical theatre and dance last year and for many years Rachel taught Laura Croucher, who is now performing professionally in Germany.

Like Jayne, Rachel has known most throughout their time with Cumbria Dance.

"It's really lovely to know that you have been part of their lives for such a long time and then they've chosen to do that for the rest of their lives or as part of their career," said Rachel.

"To know that you have taught them to a high enough standard that they are auditioning and getting into all these places is a reassurance that you're doing a good job.

"I'm also equally as proud of all the students who stay with me until they are 18, through all their A levels and everything else, but are not actually planning a career in dance.

"You get to know them very well and ballet becomes a massive part of their lives and is something they will always remember."

Rachel usually teaches 23 classes a week including adult beginner classes as well as those for children and young people up to he age of 18.

Lockdown was enforced the day ballet exams were due to take place and Rachel l decided not to do online classes but has recently restarted some back in the studio.

Jayne teaches pupils aged four to 18 but will also teach anyone older who would like to train.