Charters Part One
1945-1969 page 13
Before we return to Charters we would like to give you two tales from Patricia Prime (read Charters Part Two). The first, perhaps underpins the ethos behind the motivation of Marjorie's work, and indeed of the school in general; "We did everything, ballet - ISTD, RAD, Cecchetti: modern and tap: national: ballroom: and Louis Conrad contemporary. I remember once going to Miss Davies to ask if I could drop some of the classes and take more ballet. She said, 'Don't be silly, you can't be too qualified - go away'. So I left and carried on!" On another occasion, "A Saturday morning, when we had all the local children, the modern teacher was taken ill. Now, Daphne had been known to these children as a parent when she used to bring her twins in for classes. Daphne stepped in to take the modern classes for the morning but, afterwards, when a mother was asking her daughter how she had got on, the child replied, 'Alright, but we didn't have a proper teacher, we only had Helen and Amanda's mum'. Given that Daphne was one of the most inspiring teachers I had known, we all found it very amusing!"
Back at Charters the post-war decade was in gestation; early teething problems were slowly being tackled. The business was experimental and largely improvisational but the main purpose was always in Noreen's sight: she knew that future success was to bear heavily on her, and her alone. Her reputation, with Marjorie in Romford also, would define the character of the schools' estimation for the increasingly eager young dance enthusiasts and authorities around the country, and beyond.
The school report during this period might have read: fees, average: catering, average: accommodation, adequate: laundry facilities, abysmal! education, average but need for greater diligence: ambience, enthusiastic, healthy and relaxing: dance training, good to excellent. Not bad overall. Recognition by the Department of Education was a welcome boost to confidence.
Comparisons were drawn between the other two big players in the field: Elmhurst Ballet School and Arts Educational Schools. Noreen and Victor maintained good relations with their old friends but, naturally, a level of competitiveness was unavoidable and needed constant vigilance in order to attract talent - this was before LEAs support grants so rivalry was more intense. It may be fair to say though, that neither of the other two had a 'Noreen Bush' as their protagonist. And so it would remain, for a period of twenty-five years, until her relatively early death in 1973.
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