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performance and choreography
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Peter Brinson wrote in 1974, "She seems formidable, but the eyes belie it. She can terrorise with arms raised and bracelets clashing but stand your ground and she is friend as well. She is powerful in personality, unpredictable, mingling demands for perfection with concessions to those weaknesses which are known to assume mortal guise; her temple at Charters Towers is as demanding as it is benign. Although I had known her for some years, I discovered this Romeo and Juliet 1988, Saba KacKinnon and Jamie Sowlerin 1967 when I brought Ballet for All to the Genée Theatre for the first time. Enough dancers of note have emerged from Bush Davies to establish the quality of technical training. But I had not realised until our collaborations through Ballet for All - in providing corps dances for 'Two Coppelias' and 'Ashton and La Fille Mal Gardée', how firmly that training was grounded in theatre sense. Noreen could have had a parallel career as a choreographer and producer. In a way she has through the distinction of her school productions and their choreography. With Victor complaining that Noreen did too much (which she did), but hardly having it otherwise because he knew she cared. She cared for each detail, each child and the whole result. That, surely, is what makes an artist, teacher and human being." Read also, Pat Whittock in Bush Telegraph.

More general appreciation may be read in an article by Mary Clarke in the Dancing Times in 1984, "There has been an ever increasing emphasis upon the performing arts in the students' lives. There has been no diminution in the dance training but more and more encouragement has been given to original work - not only in the annual choreographic competitions (for the Dancing Times Cup) which present the adjudicators every year with copyright Linda Rich dreadful headaches, the standard is so high, but also in design and involvement in the annual productions. These productions, which owe much to Sue Passmore's skills and her ability not only to direct but to inspire the students, culminated this year in Peter Pan. No fewer than nineteen performances were given, attended by more than 5000 people. It is a long way from the studio 'one-offs' I first saw, but the seeds of all today's achievements had been sown by Noreen Bush, Victor Leopold and Marjorie Davies. Their heirs honour them in the best possible way, by taking their work so magnificently into the 1980s."

Photographs here courtesy of Linda Rich


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