The years ‘fell away’ at poignant reunion

The dance school reunion at Stamshaw Lake Angling club
The dance school reunion at Stamshaw Lake Angling club
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AN evening at Stamshaw Angling Club was arranged to celebrate a reunion with ex-pupils and current members of the Iris Barnes School of Dance to reminisce and share memories.

The school began careers for many teachers and choreographers some of whome are performing or have performed in the West End.

Maria Fallon, from Fratton, joined the school in 1983 at two years old and was taught by Iris Barnes.

She said: ‘Having spent about 14 years training at the Iris Barnes School of Dance, it has a very special place in my heart.’

‘The reunion was great and fantastic to see so many old friends back together again and sharing happy memories.’

Former pupil and half of the X Factor duo Same Difference, Sean Smith, 31, now a solo singer, was also at the reunion.

He said: ‘I wasn’t lucky enough to meet Iris Barnes herself but I can honestly say that I can give Karen Ainsley, who took over the dance school, 100 per cent credit for who I am today’.

Current Iris Barnes proprietor Karen Ainsley, 44, based at the Charles Dickens Centre, Lake Road, said: ‘What made being an Iris Barnes’ pupil so special was you always had a sense of belonging. Our slogan is: everyone deserves the chance to dance regardless of their ability or disability.

‘It was great to see so many ex-pupils at the reunion and to hear their many happy stories.’

Another ex-pupil, Rosey Mills, from Southsea, said: ‘We all have fond memories of growing up together. The years just fell away and it was wonderful to share our stories.’

The school plans to add acrobatic arts and contemporary dance to its curriculum. Its new show is at the New Theatre Royal on February 23. For tickets contact the box office (023) 9264 9000. For further details of classes contact Karen on 07940287861.