The seed for the school was sewn in 1962 when the late Carol Allen, a ballet dancer, and friend Jill, a pianist, wanted to share their love of music and dance with children. Classes were first opened in Hatfield and then in St.Albans. Meg Ainsworth the warden of the ‘Save the Children’ youth centre at the time, offered suitable premises for the classes to begin. Meg, who figured a great deal in Carol’s life – as friend and mentor, was with Carol when they were introduced to the great Rudolph Nureyev back stage at the Royal Opera House.
On moving to Welwyn Garden City in 1967 Carol was approached by many parents, to start a school in Panshanger. Graham (her husband) has probably lived to regret his words, ‘If you don’t someone else will’.
Jean Wise, also a dancer, joined the school to provide classes in Modern and Tap Dancing and is now its Principal. Recently Maria McNeil (nee Zakharova) a former ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet Company joined the teaching staff. The school was one of the first to provide Street Dance classes in the area, but sadly no teacher is available at present.
Jean is a Life Member of the IDTA and was proud to have been nominated for a Civic Award for ‘Outstanding contributions to their community and surroundings’. The school is also part of the ‘work experience scheme’ for local secondary education.
Jean is also qualified with the ISTD.
Classes for ballet are offered from the age of 3 years and tap & modern classes from age 4 years.
There are discounts available for siblings and single parents, also for a second lesson in the same genre.
The school is examination orientated and offers examinations in Grades and medal tests several times a year. Shows take place at the Hawthorne Theatre, Campus West, at 3 yearly intervals and the profits bestowed to local children’s charities.
The school is proud to have a wonderful and loyal committee and is indebted to the very supportive parents of its pupils.
Carol and Kean presenting Chris Ryan, a rugby para-Olympian, with a cheque for £5,000 towards the cost of a new rugby wheelchair. The funds came from profits from the dance show.