South Tyneside stage star and Marella Cruises choreographer to open new dance school in Hebburn
A South Tyneside dancer – who has performed across the world - has returned home to share his skills with budding stage stars in the borough.
Gary Walsh, 27, who has been dancing professionally for more than 10 years, will open a brand new arts and theatre school in Hebburn on Sunday, September 8.
Gary, originally from College Road, Hebburn, started dancing at the age of seven, with McKenzie School of Dance before moving to Tyne Theatre Stage School in Newcastle.
He has since starred in musical theatre and pantomime roles across the UK, as well as overseas tours and travelling the world with cruise companies, including his most recent role as assistant choreographer for Marella Cruises.
Now Gary has turned his attention to ‘putting South Tyneside on the map’, with Walsh Arts and Theatre, based at Hartleyburn Community Centre in Hebburn.
“Over the last 12 years working professionally I have gained a lot of knowledge in a mixture of dance styles from some of the best choreographers across the world.
“I wanted to bring that home to Hebburn, to help my students grow to be the best dancers that they can be," he explained.
“All my focus and attention now is on building an empire and making it into one of the best dance schools in the North East.”
Gary, who opened up about his experience of being bullied at school in a 2016 YouTube video, is hoping to encourage other young, budding male dancers to embrace their talent.
“I’m a male dancer, so I grew up with that stigma. There is no better teacher to a young lad who is interested in dancing, than someone who has lived through it, to be a role model,” he said.
Walsh Theatre Arts school will offer a wide range of dance classes including ballet, tap, jazz, street and musical theatre, to ages three and upwards.
On Sunday, September 8 Gary is holding an open day at the community centre, offering free workshops from 12 - 3pm to give people a taste of what’s to come.
He added: “I don’t want the school to be just for me, I want it to be about the community.”