A Beauty-ful way to start the year for dance school

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SIXTY four years and counting. That’s the Hartlepool dance school which is all ready for another stage spectacular.

The Elwick Academy of Dance is ready to host its 64th annual festive show with Beauty and the Beast running each night from tonight until Saturday, January 12.

Cast members of the Elwick Dance Academy production of Beauty and the Beast.

Cast members of the Elwick Dance Academy production of Beauty and the Beast.

Performances will start at 6.45pm each night and there will also be a 2pm matinee on Saturday.

And for dance school owner Geoff Lucas, the start of the run will bring an end to months of meticulous preparation.

He said: “I do all the scenery so the last three weeks have been hectic. I have been working crazy hours. I had a 2am finish the other day and that was an early night for me.

“But once it all comes together and you see the finished product, that’s when you get the reminder of why you do it every year.”

All the shows will be staged at the Town Hall Theatre, in Raby Road, Hartlepool. One hundred people, aged from two to around 60, make up the cast for the show.

It was Geoff’s mother Freda Compton who set up the Elwick Academy of Dance in 1949. She passed away aged 83 in September 2010.

She staged 61 annual pantomimes to packed out stalls at the Town Hall Theatre before Geoff took over the excellent tradition. He said; “We are still up and running and going strongly.”

This year’s production, he said, would mostly feature the original Beauty and the Beast story but with “some quite modern twists.”

Tickets cost £9.50 and £8.50, and they are available either from the theatre box office on (01429) 890000 or from the studio on (01429) 275151.