Lydia Jane Leeson
Principal CEO at Lydia English school of dance
Lydia began dancing ballet at the age of 3 in her hometown Manchester. At the age of 16 she was awarded a scholarship at the prestigious Hammond School, a specialist co-educational performing arts school. There she trained professionally in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap and musical theatre. She graduated with a Diploma in Professional Dance, certified by Trinity College London.
What is your company all about?
The concept for my business developed during the many years that I have been teaching dance to young students. I seem to have a natural ability to teach, illuminate, show and guide students in the beautiful and wonderful art of dance. I truly love what I do and my passion for dance transfers into my students. I know that my students will fondly remember me forever.
How did you come up with the idea/concept for your business?
I just needed to transfer my passion into a viable business model, this is easier said than done. Upon moving to Barcelona I needed to find paid employment and considered that working at an International school as a Teaching assistant would provide me with opportunities and contacts to pursue whilst keeping an income coming in. Combining dance education to Spanish and international students, coupled with the dance being taught in English gives a dual advantage to both the students and the students parents. I have seen this model work successfully during my previous employment in Dubai and new this same model would work in Barcelona.
Why did you choose to set up a business in Barcelona?
After 6 years of living in Dubai I followed my heart to Barcelona in Summer 2020, at the height of the pandemic. My relationship ended and I was faced with ‘what should I now do’. I did not want my Barcelona experience to come to an end and I was faced with a sink or swim scenario, make a go of it in Barcelona and turn my teaching dance skills into an income, or go home to the UK.
How do you market your business and which strategies have been the most successful?
I use social media – Instagram, Facebook, email etc to market my embryonic business. I also depend on ‘word of mouth’ and letting people see my business in person. I find that a good comment from one of my students’ parents to another parent is the best recommendation. I know that I need lots of help and guidance with this aspect of developing my business.
How do you build a successful customer base in Barcelona?
By providing a service that parents see is of great benefit to their child’s development. Word and images quickly spread on social media. The students must love attending my classes to want to keep coming back, but even more importantly the parents have to see and feel their children’s development and enjoyment.
Growing my team and increasing my business footprint is my goal over the next 12 months. My reputable name is spreading and I am being inundated with enquiries. Finding the right team to have around me is the challenge that I now face.
Is Covid19 affecting your business and if so, how do you deal with this?
Yes, Covid-19 is affecting my business. I could have larger class sizes if Covid restrictions were eased, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. I deal with Covid-19 by always following the official government rules and guidelines.
If you hadn’t relocated to Barcelona, would you have set up the same type of company in your home country?
I left home at 16 to be a residential student at The Hammond School of Dance. Since graduating I have travelled the world. I am now 33 and although I have always had a home in the UK to go back to, my heart is now in Barcelona. I do not think I would be doing the same type of business anywhere else other than in Barcelona.