Born in Manchester, Moore started her career as a model. In 1979 she created Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden. She is a speaker at Seven Dials’ International Women’s Day event on 8 March in Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel
Debbie Moore OBE, the founder of Pineapple Dance Studios, shares her London hotspots.
What green spaces do you like?
When I first came to London, I lived near Hampstead Heath. The one most familiar to me, however, is Hyde Park – it’s central and has the Serpentine lake and Serpentine Gallery.
What is your favourite building?
My favourite building is Buckingham Palace. While you’re there, visit the shop – you can buy slippers that say ‘Buckingham Palace’. I visited it when I was awarded an OBE by the Queen. She oozes prettiness and kindness.
Where holds a special memory for you?
The London Stock Exchange – in 1982 I was the first woman to float her company. I wanted money to open a studio in New York.
Where do you like to go shopping?
Oxford Street is fabulous. Debenhams stocks our Pineapple childrenswear, and Selfridges has the best designer floor.
How do you prefer to travel around?
I’d hail a black cab. Let’s all applaud the cab drivers and save them – they are vital! They are great for tourists. I love chatting to them and hearing their views on current affairs.
What places inspire you?
I love the Royal Opera House. When I opened Pineapple Studios, I used to go there nearly every night and watch ballets from the wings. The stress of starting my business – the builders and bank managers – would all disappear.
What are your favourite galleries?
The National Portrait Gallery, which is close to Trafalgar Square. After working as a model, I’m interested in photography. Paul Wolfgang Webster had to photograph people for his Made in the North series; he chose a picture of me for the gallery’s permanent collection.
Where do you like to have lunch?
If I’m popping out, I’ll have something nutritious at the Wild Food Café in Neal’s Yard. If I’m having a business lunch, I go to The Ivy. When it opened, I was one of the first people in as they’re our neighbours. One day it was full – restaurant critic Fay Maschler had reviewed it – but [owners] Corbin and King told me: ‘You’ll always get a table in our restaurant!’
Would you do anything extravagant?
I have been there and done that. My life is one continuous extravagance – Zandra Rhodes has just invited me to her fashion show!
Where would you stop for tea?
It’s divine to have tea at The Ritz. In Covent Garden there are so many fantastic coffee shops: Monmouth Coffee is wonderful and Hotel Chocolat does a good hot chocolate.
What is your perfect entertainment?
There are so many great shows on at the moment, such as The Lion King and Matilda. I love going to rock concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. I have seen Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
Where do you love to dine?
At the wine bar and restaurant, Dalla Terra, in Covent Garden. I love Chinatown, too.
What makes London stand out?
There’s nothing like landing at Heathrow and thinking ‘I’m home’. Even if you don’t go to a museum, you can wander around and be like a sponge.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
I’m not a stereotypical businesswoman. I had only been open a year and I was invited to Downing Street. I talked to Margaret Thatcher about women’s groups and young people.
Why should our readers visit Pineapple?
You can fly in from Tokyo, take the Piccadilly line to Covent Garden, walk through the door and say: ‘I want to do a class now!’ There’ll be up to 12 classes on. We do different styles and levels. A cabbie told me that he was 65 years old, fancied a tap class and came! We’ve had Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and Madonna’s kids, but also the girl in the coffee shop.
Where would you spend the night?
The Covent Garden Hotel – it has a lovely bar. Pineapple Dance Studios, Langley St, WC2H 9JA. www.pineapple.uk.com. T: 020-7836 4004
Clockwise from top left: Covent Garden Piazza; Debbie Moore, OBE; Hyde Park; The Ritz; Debbie being awarded an OBE by the Queen