The History of the Ormskirk School of Dance

Today the Ormskirk and Rufford School of Dance is West Lancashire's premier dance school with a solid reputation.

The School was established in 1962 by the late Mrs Barbara Dickinson and her sister. After 12 months Mrs Dickinson took over the sole running of the school. The school flourished and was predominately a Royal Academy of Dance Ballet School.

In addition to Ballet, Mrs Dickinson also introduced Stage classes (an interpretation of modern dance) and some tap up to the age of six.

Mrs Dickinson retired after 29 years and sold the school to the present principal Miss Alison Clark in 1991. In 2018 Miss Clark bought the Rufford School of Dance which had been established by Lorraine Ryan in Rufford from 2012.

Miss Clark had trained at Pimbley-Johnson School of Dance, the Elliot-Clarke College and Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre. Upon qualifying Miss Clark taught in various locations under the umbrella of Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre teaching both children and full time dance students.

Under Miss Clark's leadership the school has continued its RAD Ballet examinations and has increased its curriculum to include ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance) classes and exams in: Modern, Tap, Jazz and Disco. Also classes in limbering and singing are offered. The Saturday ballet classes for ages 2 ½ to 6 still use traditional musical accompaniment in the form of a fully qualified pianist.

Since 1993 the school has performed a bi-annual show. Themes have included Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan (1996) and Aladdin (1998). Subsequent shows have been entitled: Lets Dance (2000), Back then Right Now (2002), Musical Magic (2004), A Night at the Movies (2006), The Season's (2008), TV Times (2010), Celebrating 50 years (2012). Since 2000 the school's chosen charity Childline has been the beneficiary of funds raised from the shows.

Originally the school shows where performed at Ormskirk Civic Hall, then since 2000 the shows have been held at Cross Hall High School later known as Ormskirk School. In 2005 the Ormskirk School of Dance was invited to become a Community Partner of Ormskirk School with a view to sharing skills and facilities. This has culminated in a sharing of technical services, facilities, knowledge and equipment. In 2005 a joint show with performers and staff from both organisations produced a rendition of Bob Fosse's Chicago to critical acclaim which celebrated Ormskirk School being awarded specialist arts college status.

The school has also on occasion supported various local fetes, carnivals and charity events by providing performers. The school have held a number of choreographic competitions. Our Rufford branch has a well established connection with M,A,D Mawdsleys Amateur Dramatic Society, where pupils take part in their hugely successful annual Pantomine.

Today the school has over 200 pupils from the age of 2½ years upwards; four members of staff and a volunteer technical crew that assist in a high degree of professional show production.