New life for dance school

A CELEBRATED Ipswich dance school has been spared closure today thanks to the support of one of the town's high schools.

A CELEBRATED Ipswich dance school has been spared closure today thanks to the support of one of the town's high schools.

Linda Shipton's School of Dance was under threat just before Christmas because its former premises in Bolton Lane were due to be bulldozed to make way for flats.

Despite a four-month search for a new home and an appeal through the pages of The Evening Star, it wasn't until the week before the end of term that Miss Shipton knew her school was safe.

Copleston High School stepped in to offer their facilities to the desperate dancers and lessons will begin at the high school next week.


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Miss Shipton said: “Copleston have come up with the goods. They have been very, very helpful.

“They have offered us rooms to use which has been a great help and we now have all of our classes covered for next term at least.”

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The dance school will now rent rooms at the school for about 40 hours every week but Miss Shipton said the search is still on for a more permanent base.

The school has a long legacy of success and Miss Shipton said the new premises are not ideal for training ballet starlets of the future.

Among the successful dancers who have trained at the school are The Royal Ballet's Gary Avis and Helen Crawford.

Miss Shipton added: “We haven't got barres and mirrors or a proper dance floor (at Copleston) but at least we have got somewhere.

“We had to buy portable barres and Copleston only has a little bit of storage because of the fire (which devastated a large section of the school in August).

“Also they don't have a piano in the rooms we are using so we have had to buy a portable keyboard.

“The standard of our work is such that it warrants a proper dance studio.”

The school has been unable to find anywhere suitable to rent in the town centre but is still hoping somewhere may become available.

Restrictions on planning guidelines mean former industrial units are unlikely to be possible as Ipswich Borough Council would need to agree to change their use.

Anyone who has a building which could be suitable should call Miss Shipton on 01206 841693 or e-mail: linda@shiptondance.co.uk

Do you know a community facility that is under threat? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail: eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks: www.shiptondance.co.uk; www.eveningstar.co.uk/news

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