The Nether Regions

The blog that slips an affectionate hand between the thighs of the regional media

Blame it on the boogie

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The Nether Regions is a blog which loves to dance. What we don’t love is the nagging feeling that maybe we aren’t very good at it. What we need is an objective analysis of our azonto; an external validation of our vogueing. Fortunately, a recent visit to a Lancashire dance studio has allowed us to get certified as fully qualified, professional lords of the dance. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it. Nothing can stop us now.

Chorley Guardian, 23 January 2013 (story)

School of dance was just a sham

THE owner of a Chorley dance school duped parents out of thousands of pounds for fake exams and ‘cut and paste’ certificates.

Oh ffs.

Natasha Jones, who owned The Ballet Academy, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to forging certificates from prestigious organisations, including The Royal Academy of Dance.

The court heard how the 35-year-old would charge anything from £27 to £108 for the exams, despite not being a registered member of the authorities.

Depending on your point of view, this is either a bleak tale involving the cruel deception of innocent children or a humourous reminder that a pushy parent and their money are easily parted.

There are two things that struck me about the story. The first is that parents in Chorley really are thick. As the article makes clear, it’s not like there weren’t hints being dropped harder and faster than drone strike missiles on a tribal wedding.

One parent told the Guardian how he became suspicious of the mother-of-three, from Boarded Barn, Euxton, after she gave him a certificate which looked like it had been made on a home computer.

“We would continuously be asking Natasha for the certificates after she had passed the exams and kids love that kind of thing.

“She would come up with all the usual excuses – that she had forgotten it, that she’d left it on her desk or that it had been locked in a classroom where she worked.

“I thought it was down to her being completely unorganised as she was a lovely lady and a good dance teacher, but when we eventually got one it looked like it had been cobbled together.

“It seemed like someone had just used cut and paste to make it, but even then I thought she probably couldn’t find the original so had made that to make up for it.”

Just one more thing...

Just one more thing…

Eventually it was revealed that Jones, who had started the school in 1997, didn’t belong to any of the dance examining bodies she had been claiming to be apart of, including The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, and the International Dance Teachers Association

 

Imagine a parent striding into the local police station, their voice trembling. “I’m here to report a crime” they utter, as they solemnly place a tear-stained piece of A4 on the reception desk.

Artist's impression

Artist’s impression

There were probably murders going unsolved while the police got to the bottom of this mystery.

The second thing that gets me about this is that it really seems like a victimless crime. The ‘fraudster’ had been in business since 1997, and I’m sure a dance school doesn’t survive in Chorley for 15 years without being a fun and popular place for the kids. The parents don’t seem to have had any complaints about the standard of teaching. One mother had her son enrolled for eight years, and I bet he could pirouette with the best of them by the end.

So the kids were having fun learning to dance. None of ever failed the sham exams, and they must have felt pretty good seeing those certificates displayed on bedroom walls and kitchen fridges. Maybe the parents would have them framed, and after their offspring had gone to bed they’d look at the certificates and realise that they had raised a beautiful, capable child.

The fact that the certificates were ‘fake’ doesn’t make little Adam a worse dancer. It doesn’t make young Megan’s pride a less authentic emotion. It doesn’t mean that the children of Chorley were wasting their time. They were doing something they loved. Their certificate had the same appearance as a ‘real’ one, and performed the same function. Why then, is it inadequate?

The real criminal here isn’t Natasha Jones. It’s the parents and the police who pulled at the threads and exposed their children to the true horror: Reality itself.

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Written by Thomas

January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

Posted in Consumer rights

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