Hundreds celebrate much-loved dance school’s 40th anniversary at special show

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Ursula (Little Mermaid), Captain Spaulding (House of 1000 Corpses), Cruella DeVille (101 Dalmatians). Geek Asylum, Newcastle.''Picture Credit: Keith Woodland

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HUNDREDS united to celebrate as a much-loved Gosport dance school turned 40.

More than 350 people packed into Ferneham Hall in Fareham to watch the Ker-Mel School of Dancing’s anniversary show yesterday.

The fixture featured some of the club’s classic renditions – performed by returning members – alongside fresh sequences spearheaded by young and up-and-coming dancers.

It was 71-year-old Jan Allpress who kick-started the club in 1978, dedicating its name to her two daughters Kerry and Melanie.

Decribing the journey the school has made, she said: ‘I think it’s fair to say 40 years is quite an achievement.

‘This all started with just five pupils at St Faith’s Church Hall in Gosport – today we have about 70.

‘When it began, I never dreamed Ker-Mel would become as big as it has today, and I am proud to say many of our dancers have gone on to achieve some wonderful things.’

Janine Hensman is one of a throng of dancers who united with the school’s current roster to take part in the show yesterday afternoon.

The 42-year-old said: ‘I joined Ker-Mel when I was just three years old.

‘It’s lovely to have been invited to come back and celebrate 40 years.

‘For me, this club isn’t just about dancing, it’s about so much more.

‘I have made many friends here and learned so much about how to present myself as I go about my life.’

After 27 meticulously-rehearsed routines, Ker-Mel’s anniversary show concluded with a dazzling display of pyrotechnics.

Now, with its next 40 years in dancers’ minds, it is Jan’s daughter Melanie Silverlock who is in line to take the reins.

The 46-year-old said: ‘This group has been a massive part of my life since the age of three and I am excited to see what the future holds.’