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5 Jun 2018

Hamilton's Drury Lane dance school marks 50 years of shows

The Drury Lane dance studio in Hamilton is preparing to celebrate 50 years of annual recitals with founding teacher Aileen Downey still leading the way at classes.

An annual end-of-year dance recital to showcase the work of the students is a tradition of the school — Drury Lane Dance and Performance.

This year is the 50th consecutive annual dance recital, with plans to raise the curtain in November once again on the latest troupe of aspiring young dancers, as well as including past students and teachers in this milestone event.

The dance studio estimates that more than 10,000 dancers have performed in the annual shows over the years.

Founder of Drury Lane Dance in 1968, Aileen Downey, still loves to teach in the St Peter’s Church Hall, in Victoria St and share her knowledge of dance with today’s students.
Her daughter Kerry Davis joined her in running the school in 1975 and they have had a huge involvement with the performing arts in the Waikato and beyond.

“Fifty years is a momentous milestone and certainly one to be recognised and celebrated,” said Aileen.

Aileen and Kerry have trained dancers and teachers who have gone on to be huge ambassadors for the creative arts and performance throughout New Zealand and overseas.

They have also been very involved with operatic shows for many years, working with well-known producers, directors and choreographers.

The first show was held in a church hall in Hamilton East. Approximately 30 tap students performed on the small stage with a sheet backdrop with silver stars pinned all over it.

At the conclusion of the show all students sat under the Christmas tree and received a present and the audience of family and friends enjoyed a shared afternoon tea.

Aileen says the school salutes the many teachers, choreographers and dancers who have been part of this extended dance family and have left their mark upon the arts community in Hamilton. To celebrate 50 years, Drury Lane is inviting all past students and teachers to join them in either the audience or by taking a dance class and being part of the dazzling end-of-year show.

The 50th show will be on the November 10 and 11 at Clarence St Theatre in Hamilton. For more information contact Kerry Davis on 027-4852488.