New faces step up at dance studio

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A WELL-known Leyland dance studio is being taken over by some familiar faces.

The former Christine Clarkson Dance Studio on Longmeanygate will now be known as Dance Talent Studio.

New owners Sue Ashton and Annie Bell were good friends with Christine Clarkson, who lost her battle with cancer last year, and they are determined to make sure her hard work lives on.

Sue, 35, said: “Christine and I were very, very close and we had known each other for years.

“When she passed away, her husband Roy said she would want us to take the studio over.

“It wasn’t my intention to run a dance studio but I was still involved and me and Annie decided to do it together.”

Christine set up the studio in 1988 and spent more than 20 years teaching youngsters ballet, tap and modern dance.

Sue began working for Christine at the studio when she was 17 and remained in close touch with her until her death in February 2010 of myeloma.

She said: “I’m a professional dancer and I performed away for 10 years but I kept coming back to see her. In 2005, we formed Dance Talent together which taught youngsters how to street dance.

“We did that for years and built it up so doing this seemed quite natural.

“We’ve just signed the lease and we are both very excited and want to make sure we do Chris proud.”

Sue says knowing what a well-known face Christine was in the community means there is a big reputation to live up to.

She said: “It is a lot of pressure and we want people to know that we are going to build the dance school back up.

“The children and the parents have been so good to us and I think it’s because they knew us from before (Christine died).

“We have done a bit of a revamp but the concept of what Christine did for over 20 years is still the same.”

Dancers from the school will get the chance to show what they are made of when they perform at the Leyland Festival this weekend.

Each class from the studio will be putting on a two-minute show to give visitors a taste of their talents.

Sue said: “Christine’s strength was always putting on shows - she was amazing and that and everyone in Leyland knows of them.

“It has taken a little time but we are now ready to get up and running and make Christine proud.”

Classes in ballet, tap, modern, street dance and zumba are available at the dance school.

The owners are now also the first studio in Lancashire to be handed a new qualification in street dance.