Adore Dance offers beginner and intermediate ballet classes. Photograph: courtesy Adore Dance

A Hackney Wick dance school is celebrating its first birthday by holding free lessons and raising money for Ukraine.

Adore Dance opened on 30 April last year as coronavirus restrictions were beginning to ease after the third national lockdown.

Co-founders and partners Joe Watson and Connor Taylor decided to offer activities and classes to people looking to enjoy their new-found freedom.

Watson said: “[In lockdown] I was working from home, Connor was on furlough, and we had that reconsidering moment that so many people had. We turned that energy into Adore Dance.”

Now they are marking their first year by offering free lessons on 30 April. They will also collect donations during the event, which will go towards the Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

“The day feels like a festival of dance,” Watson continued. “[Our classes are] sociable, it’s a breakaway from the very strict ballet classes people are used to.”

Joe Watson co-founded the school with his partner. Photograph: courtesy Adore Dance

The birthday event will run from 9.30am until 6pm and is completely free to attend – however, all attendees are encouraged to donate.

Watson said: “It’s not just about supporting our community, it’s beyond our community. So it felt very natural to do a free-to-attend festival of dance but also raise money for Ukraine.”

Adore Dance offers classes for adults and children in a range of different styles including ballet, commercial, and barre fitness.

The classes run throughout the week and are taught by qualified teachers. They cater to beginner and intermediate dancers, but advanced classes are soon to be added to the roster.

Looking to the future, Watson said: “The sky’s the limit. We’ve been very fortunate and humbled by the support so far.

“It’s now just about expanding to meet demands – launching more classes, and who knows, maybe one day we’ll find a permanent home in a dedicated studio?”

If you’d like to sign up for the free birthday event, visit adoredance.london/first-birthday-party.