Cel­e­brat­ing 70 years of dance and drama

Maria An­der­son pupils put on an­niver­sary show

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine

PUPILS past and present have come to­gether to celebrate 70 years of the Maria An­der­son School of Dance and Drama.

The oc­ca­sion saw two spe­cial per­for­mances at the Hayes Beck Theatre on Satur­day June 27, with a sur­prise item by dance school alumni.

The group’s 87-year-old founder, Maria An­der­son, started with a cou­ple of pupils af­ter the war aged just 17, and went on to launch her own stu­dio which pre­pares dancers for the West End.

She said: “It’s quite an hon­our to have been able to do it for all those years and it’s been a very suc­cess­ful school.

“I built my own stu­dio be­cause we were un­able to carry on with the size we wanted to be at Church Halls, which were very nice at the time but we needed some­where of our own.

“Loads of chil­dren have stayed with me right through the school and have gone on to col­lege be­cause with us they can get their col­lege qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

The pur­pose-built stu­dio, at 120 El­liott Av­enue, Ruis­lip, has seen hun­dreds of pupils a year per­form with the school and gen­er­a­tions within fam­i­lies.

Pa­tri­cia Napoli­tano, 62, is one of many suc­cess­ful pupils from the school, who went on to run her own stu­dio in Aus­tralia.

She said: “I started danc­ing aged two, where most of the classes were at Wind­mill Hall and St Paul’s Church in Ruis­lip.

“It’s some­thing beau­ti­ful, it’s been a life long ex­pe­ri­ence for me. I can­not imag­ine what my life would have been like with­out dance.”

Pupils at the school can sit Royal Academy ex­am­i­na­tions, com­pete in na­tional com­pe­ti­tions and have gone on to have glit­ter­ing ca­reers in cabaret, teach­ing and per­form­ing in West End shows.

n DANCE STARS: In the cen­tre is Maria An­der­son, her daugh­ter Bev­erly Hague to the left and her grand daugh­ter Lisa Hague to the right. Right, pupils set to take part in the All Eng­land Dance Fes­ti­val some of whom qual­i­fied at the re­gional fi­nals to com­pete at the All Eng­land Fi­nals in July this year at the Hack­ney Em­pire

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