Sunday 28 November 2021
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West Bridgford ballet school celebrates its 40th anniversary

West Bridgford ballet school, Leonard School of Dance Ltd. celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

The “Helen Leonard School of Dancing” was founded in 1981 by Helen Leonard.

It began with seven children attending a once-a-week class at St Paul’s Boundary Road, West Bridgford.

Classes which take children from 3 years old to adults, now take place 6 days a week, and are run out of three venues, St Paul’s Boundary Road, St Giles’ Stratford Road and Holy Rood church hall, Edwalton. Leonard School of Dance is a specialist classical ballet school which is registered with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).


In 2003 the school changed its name to Leonard School of Dance Ltd. 

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Helen has danced since the age of 2 and was predominantly trained in Nottingham by Sissie Smith, before continuing her training for 3 years at London College of Dance & Drama and then a further year at East Sussex University, where she gained a Certificate in Education, specialising in Dance & Drama.


Over the years, thousands of children have attended lessons and been entered for their RAD ballet examinations. Indeed, the school now has many second-generation children following in their parent’s footsteps. 


Many students have gone on to full time vocational training or to study dance and related subjects at degree level.

Paige Curzon has recently graduated from KS Dance in Warrington and is setting out on her career as a professional dancer and Oscar Ward is now dancing with English National Ballet in London. 

However, most students attend class because they love to dance, and see it as a worthwhile hobby from which they not only learn to dance, but also gain valuable life skills.


Former student and teacher, Michelle Widdison, who is also a director of Leonard School of Dance, organised a surprise celebration for Helen with the help of Nick, Penny and Rebecca Gale. The surprise involved former students coming back from all over the country to give a dance performance, which included three numbers choreographed by the students. Members of Michelle’s advanced adult ballet class (some of whom are former students too), performed a specially choreographed piece.

The whole event was a happy celebration with everyone involved sharing a love of dance. The afternoon ended with tea and cake and plenty of catching up.


Helen said afterwards,

“What an incredible surprise! It was so moving that these former students gave up their time to choreograph, rehearse and perform, and to such a high standard too. Absolutely fantastic that they are still dancing, even though most of them now have quite diverse careers”. 

For information on classes please visit: 




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