We chat to Anne-Marie Martin, mum-of-two and founder of preschool dance class, Diddi Dance
How did you set up Diddi Dance?
I’d been teaching older children dance for years and then started some preschool work in a play centre in 2003. Many of the parents would enquire about preschool dance classes as there weren’t any available locally, so I agreed to start a taster class. My first class was full and as the weeks went by, I began developing more structured lesson plans.
Tell us more about your background.
I trained professionally with a first-class degree at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, where I focused on teaching and dance movement therapy. I performed all over the world, including the Royal Opera House, the Brit Awards and on Top of the Pops, before discovering my love of teaching children in my late twenties.
Since launching Diddi Dance, you’ve had two children yourself, have they changed your outlook on the business?
I’ve always been self employed and benefited from flexible working hours but this became even more important with the arrival of my son and daughter. Teaching is my passion but to balance family life and grow the business, it became essential for me to take on other staff.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Letting go. When you’ve started a business through something you love it’s always hard to leave it in the hands of others. I still struggle, but communication is key and I couldn’t be more confident in our team.
And your proudest moment?
There are lots, every day. Working with this age group means I’m constantly seeing children grow in confidence. To see this happen through dance makes me really proud.
What’s your advice for anyone looking to set up their own business?
First of all, find something you have a passion for. Then accept that you can’t know every aspect of business so seek expert advice and let others help.
What’s in the pipeline for Diddi Dance?
We are currently developing classes with the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association so we can support children with additional needs. We will also be launching our Diddi Dolls and a video subscription service to enable kids to dance in the comfort of their own home!