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The Last Dance Of My Beloved Dance Teacher

On Dec 3rd 2022, I lost a very important person in my life, my first dance teacher.

Those of you who have experienced a second family who you have known for nearly as long as your own family will understand how close a “dance family “ can be.

Over 40 years ago I took my first step into a dancing school that would ultimately change the direction of my life. My mother who knew nothing about dance brought me initially to try to correct a foot that would turn inwards when I walked, never realising that I would find a talent in dance that I would never have known I had.

From that moment on the echoey music from the stereo and the magical movements I experienced in that big airy hall gave me the freedom to express myself through the movement and music that I loved. Each Saturday my mother would bring me to class and I was always welcomed by another family, Miss Pat ( my first dance teacher) , her daughter Claire and her other teachers who smiled and cared for us and were patient when we struggled with new steps. Lessons would turn into shows and shows into exams and I realised that I could do the steps, as a child with limited academic ability finally something I could actually succeed at.

Miss Pat was a lady of many talents and not only would she create dances for the shows but would also script out Pantomimes that we would perform at Christmas time. As if that wasn’t enough she painstakingly made each costume that every child wore on stage, spending hours sewing sequins and elastic into all sorts of fabulous creations. The excitement of shows and the stage has never left me and I will always remember this time in my life as the most wonderful time.

As I grew up and went to a professional dance school during the week, Miss Pat supported me and helped me to get through the audition process that would progress my career. Although I danced all week I never left Miss Pat and still attended classes on a Saturday, always doing the shows and exams on top of my daily classes. In my teenage years I showed an interest in teaching. Miss Pat as always supported me and allowed me to become a student teacher for the younger classes. Assisting Claire (Miss Pat's daughter and brilliant teacher herself) and her other teachers. Being a student teacher to Miss Pat I learnt so much about how to teach and break down steps etc. How to mirror a student while demonstrating, but mainly how to care for a class of students and bring dance to life. Alot of the knowledge I still use today in many of my classes.

As I grew up and had my own children I remained in close contact with my dance family, always returning to the safety of my roots, of where I felt appreciated and valued as a person and a teacher. The guidance I received by my dance school both in my personal and professional life has made me the person I am today and it all began with Miss Pat and my dancing life.

Thank you Miss Pat for making me into the dance teacher I am today……until we meet again.

Miss Pats legacy lives on with several dance schools being established by her pupils. Her own dance school continues to thrive under the expert teachings of her daughter Claire and children and grand children of Miss Pats pupils now attend her dance school.

RIP 28th Jan. 1933 - 3rd Dec. 2022

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