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Henrico dance instructor goes beyond the classroom to help the community

A Henrico dance instructor took her love for the arts, her favorite Beatles song and an ode to her Irish culture to start her own business.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:59 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico dance instructor took her love for the arts, her favorite Beatles song and an ode to her Irish culture to start her own business.

Eleanor Robertson opened Rigbys Jig almost 20 years ago. Since then, she’s been teaching others how to Cha Cha, Waltz and Foxtrot their way into a new hobby.

“I started dancing when I was three,” she said.

Her passion for the arts has been a lifelong commitment.

She’s done the Cha Cha for “Dancing with the Richmond Stars,” an event benefitting the Children’s Hospital.

She laced up her cowboy boots in 2018 to dance at the Cattle Barons Ball, raising money for the American Cancer Society.

“I had danced forever and then I had the opportunity to start sharing it with other people and teaching other people and realized how much joy I got out of sharing,” Robertson said.

Since 2003 Eleanor has been teaching dance with people like Tom Davidson.

“My wife, Ellen, and I started taking dance lessons here about 15 years ago,” Davidson said. “We got a Groupon, and we just started, and we realized how much fun this was to do a hobby like this together.”

Davidson says he came into the studio a bit nervous but Robertson made it easy.

“I love just being able to allow people to feel comfortable and feel confident,” she said.

It’s a feeling her students are able to take with them after class.

“I think she brings people closer together who are couples like me and my wife, Ellen,” Davidson said. “We’ve had other hobbies, but nothing that brought us together like this.”

“It’s wonderful to be able to watch people walk out the door and they’re holding hands with their spouse and they’re smiling,” said Robertson.

Her commitment to teaching even found its way into classrooms across Virginia.

She teaches about 2,000 kids the history and styles of dance through a virtual program.

At Greenwood Elementary School in Henrico, she’s got a group of early risers taking her class at 7:20 a.m.

“There are a lot of kids in our community that maybe the parents aren’t able to get them to dance classes or music classes or anything like that,” Robertson said. “So we thought it would be wonderful to be able to offer something right there in the school and the kids learn all kinds of choreography.”

That’s why NBC12′s “Acts of “Kindness” award really fits her. Beyond the studio, she does so many things in the community.

Davidson, with the help of some of Eleanor’s students, presented her with the NBC 12 Acts of Kindness recently.

“We’re real, real proud of what she has done,” said her dad, Dwane Miller. “And, you know, really not just in the area of dance, but in every facet of her life. She’s just added so much to people’s lives.”

“I’m so fortunate that I get to do what I love. I get to work with people and feel like I make a difference in their lives and I get to do something in the arts, which is fantastic,” Robertson said.

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