Milestone show honours dance teacher

THE new year will mark a high 'kicking' point for South Tyneside dance teacher Caren Lumsdale.

The 47-year-old has been teaching young performers for three decades.

And to celebrate 30 years of producing top-class dancers at Lumsdale Theatre Arts, Ms Lumsdale is putting on a milestone anniversary show in the summer.

The mum-of-two, from Whiteleas, South Shields, said: "It's surreal to think in September this year, 30 years have gone by since I started teaching. I started off with just one pupil and it escalated from there.

"When I was training, I used to look at other schools and think 'I'd love to have a school like that' and I never thought in a million years it would happen, but it did.

"To think I have taught more than 10,000 pupils now. Some have gone on to dance all over the world and in the West End, and I have people just starting that journey now."

Ms Lumsdale was working at J&J Fashions, at Middlefields in South Shields, back in 1981 when she took over a friend's dance class at Gilbert Daniels Bungalow, at Westoe, before moving to Chuter Ede Community Centre in Biddick Hall for 18 years.

Almost six years ago she set up Lumsdale Theatre Arts studios behind Beach Road in South Shields.

Ms Lumsdale – who appeared as a teenage dancer in the smash-hit musical Bugsy Malone, back in 1976 – can also count her own children, Charlotte, 15, and Danny, 19, among her award-winning dancers.

Other former students who have gone on to reach the top of their game include Claire Hammond, who is working at the Customs House after honing her trade in Europe, sisters Lucy-Jane and Emma-Katie Adcock, who have both appeared in Starlight Express, Jennifer Davison, who is touring in Mamma Mia, and Craig Moffat, who lists the West End production of Grease on his CV.

The 30-year celebratory show, called Raising the Barre, will take place at the Customs House on July 18 and 19 and will feature some familiar faces.

It will also give the parents of current pupils an opportunity to step into the limelight as they perform their own song in the production.

Ms Lumsdale, who works with best pal Melanie Velasco and still keeps in touch with her old mentor, Adrienne Carthew, added: "People can come along and support us and see all the different styles we do."