The Jessie-Leigh Dance and Cheer (JLDC) Academy is based in Gosport and has a variety of teams. It welcomes children from two years old 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 cheer 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 develop good people. Having a good philosophy and developing strong, independent athletes, preparing them for the rest of their lives is the most important thing for us.
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Jessie-Leigh introduced her love of dancing to co-owner and husband Mark, of Gosport, who has embraced the sport and is now the Academy’s head stunt and tumbling coach.
“I think we both play to each other’s strengths,” Mark said.
Last year, two hip-hop teams and an academy cheerleading team won places to represent England at Summit, the All Star Varsity World Championships, held in Florida in April 2022. .
Competition is the highest possible reaching 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, are finalizing routines for the championships this week and plan to showcase them to family and friends during 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 the first time they’ll be on a plane,” says Jessie-Leigh.
Out of a total of around 250 members, 44 JLDC Academy members have been invited to attend the Summit next year, a trip costing £91,000.
Mark and Jessie-Leigh along with other Academy coaches will accompany the young athletes to the competition in Florida, in order to relieve some of the financial burden on the families.
“For a lot of families, financially it’s such a big commitment for them, we tried to raise as much money as possible,” Jessie-Leigh said.
The dance group has spearheaded multiple fundraising efforts, such as bingo nights, bake sales, nightclubs and their latest record will see Academy members take a dip in the sea on New Year’s Day. at Gosport.
The dancing duo say winning isn’t the most important thing to them and their teams, they just want their athletes to have fun.
“We’re just going to go out 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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