Northern Dance Centre goes back to its roots

Craven Herald: Emma Hopley in the middle of swirling dancers Emma Hopley in the middle of swirling dancers

The Skipton-based Northern Dance Centre has done a full pirouette.

It has just returned to Craven Hall, on the corner of Sackville Street, where it was based in the 1960s.

The school – founded by Margaret Jaffé in 1948 – now has three purpose-built studios, sprung floors, mirrors and barres to cater for its 500 students.

“We have come home,” said principal Amy Addison (formerly Kaupe), who trained with Mrs Jaffé from the age of three. She took charge of the school seven years ago when her mentor retired after 60 years of teaching.

Mrs Jaffé, who is now 90, was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for her services to dance.

Amy completed her vocational training at Laine Theatre Arts in Kent, and taught at various places, including Birmingham’s Elmhurst Ballet School and the Performers College in Essex, before returning to Skipton.

She has taught at Northern Dance Centre for 20 years where classes range from ballet and tap to streetdance and hip-hop.

“I am proud to lead a talented team of loyal and dedicated teachers, many ex-students themselves which leads to a happy family atmosphere,” said Amy, who is an ISTD Modern and Tap examiner and holds a Masters degree in dance science.

“Dance training methods and styles change frequently, but whilst keeping up to date with current dance science and teaching expertise, the emphasis remains on professional, intelligent dance training, and nurturing happy, confident students who achieve their highest aims.

“Northern Dance Centre produces a steady stream of dancers who go on to train professionally and continue in the dance world not only as professional dancers, but teachers, choreographers, examiners and lecturers.

“Ex-pupils include David Gayle, founder of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars and for many years a soloist with the Royal Ballet, Angela Robinson who partnered Wayne Sleep in Dash and The Hot Shoe Show, Elizabeth Marshall now head of studies at English National Ballet School, Jane Tucker who danced professionally and now teaches at Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds, and most recently Hannah Coates who is now a soloist with the Hamburg Ballet in Germany.”

The school has its own theatre group, Northern Lights, which has undertaken tours of Europe and the UK and represented England at the World Folk Dance Festival in Palma where it won a silver medal.

Students also compete at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, where they became world champions in 2009, winning first prize in the prestigious folk dance group.

The centre’s new studios will be officially opened on Saturday, May 10, with an afternoon of celebrations, dance displays and reunions. Past students are invited to email ndcinfo@aol.com for details.

Meanwhile, anyone wanting more information about the school should visit northerndancecentre.com.

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