Leyland's Mavis Berry & Helen Allen School of Dance are performing three shows this weekend at the Croston Theatre

A mother and daughter ran Leyland dance school, which was founded nearly 70 years ago, is putting on a host of shows this weekend for the first time since the pandemic.

By Aimee Seddon
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Mavis Berry & Helen Allen School of Dance, who rehearse at the United Reformed Church on Hough Lane, are putting on three shows, featuring around a hundred children.

Held at the Croston Theatre, in Westholme School, Blackburn, the performances will be on Saturday May 21 at 7pm, then Sunday May 22 at 2pm and 7pm.

The show is called “A Chance to Dance” because it literally is, with the performances being a celebration of the school’s survival of the pandemic.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Mavis Berry & Helen Allen School of Dance are perfroming three shows this weekend at the Croston Theatre.

Dance teacher Helen Allen, explained: “We’ve spent two years with the school closed, we were in and out, in and out, all the time. We did a lot of Zoom classes to keep the school running, because Mavis Berry, my mother, has been running it for well over 60 years, so in order to keep that momentum going, that's what we had to do.

"I know a lot of schools have found the pandemic so, so difficult, we've all lost business from it without a shadow of a doubt, and this show is basically about giving the children a boost and giving them that opportunity to perform and feel feel normal again, because the pandemic’s crushed the energy out of so much of the musical theatre industry. We've all had to really dig our heels in and move forward the best way we can, so it has been really challenging, but I’m proud we’ve gotten through it.”

Read More

Read More
Longridge headteacher invited to Buckingham Palace next week after being awarded...

Helen’s mother, Mavis, started the dance school when she was aged 15, and now aged 84, she continues to play an active role.

Seniors in their Moulin Rouge costume. From left to right: Kaitlyn Brown, Bethan Lally, Ruby Thompson, Izzy Davies, Ellie Prescott, Lexi Bebbington, Tamsin Shepherd, Lily Cornwell, Lucy Starks, Nicole Coulton, Amelie Shipway.

All the dances have been choreographer by Mavis, Helen, and two other teachers, and they promise to show the variation of the genres that they teach at the school.

‘A Chance to Dance’, which has taken six months to prepare, has lots of vibrant numbers in it from Moulin Rouge to Mamma Mia, as well as classical pieces, such as from the Spanish ballet Don Quixote, and classical Greek numbers which will be linked to stories about the Greek Gods.

56-year-old Helen, who first began teaching at the school when she was 17, added: “Many children will be treading the boards for the first time, so we have lots of little ducklings from the age of three, lets hope they turn into beautiful swans! And we also have some guest appearances from a couple of my students who are currently at stage school.

"I've also got quite a lot of girls this time, who will be leaving soon. They've been with me from age three so they're coming up to 18, and it'd be nice for them just to finish on a high. But it is a celebration for us all really, we did it to give everybody a boost!”

Pupils from the Sleeping Beauty Ballet

Tickets are still available for all three shows costing £15 each (or £10 for children), and you can book them here.

Left- Kaleidoscope Classical Greek. Right- Lexi Bebbington as Maleficent