Over the past two decades hundreds of children will have honed their dance skills at the Kerry Ledger School of Dance in Ilkeston.
Kerry , 56, has run the dance school, on Lord Haddon Road, for 20 years and says that all of her pupils are like one big family.
She said: “Originally it was the Marion Hendey School of Dance. I came to the dance school as a three year old. I did all my training there and when I was 19 I went away to work as a professional dancer on a cruise liner in the Caribbean. I also did a summer season in Jersey. “When I came back I realised I wanted to teach so I came back to the dance school and Marion put me through all the qualifications . When she retired I bought the business off her and have been here just over 20 years.”
Kerry, who grew up in Kirk Hallam, said the school has grown a lot over that time, from running classes for half a day on a Saturday and three nights a week, to every night of the night and all day Saturday.
There are now 140 pupils at the school, from three-year-olds to mature ladies.
Kerry said: “Seeing all the children progress as they get older is very rewarding. They are like an extended family to me, they come to me from when they are three until they leave and go to university.
“It is a friendly dance school and we have had a lot of success. Everyone is good pals and there is a lovely atmosphere. My job is fabulous and I thoroughly enjoy it. I get such a lot of rewards from it and we never have to advertise, it’s all word of mouth.”
Kerry’s daughter Evie, who is 23, also teaches at the school.
Kerry also has a son who is in Sweden studying a masters degree in computer science.
The Kerry Ledger School of Dance are currently preparing for a show which will raise money for the NSPCC. The school puts on a show every other year and in the past have raised money for Diabetes UK and a meningitis charity.
Kerry started volunteering in the NSPCC’s school service a year ago.
Now she is staging a performance at the St John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy in Kirk Hallam, Ilkeston on March 1, 2, 4 and 5 at 7.30pm.
She has already raised £3,000 for the NSPCC through the bi-annual event, and hopes this one will be the most successful yet.
She said: “We’ve got a great show planned. We usually get a good turnout so we hope to raise as much money as possible.”
Kerry runs school workshops for years five and six, teaching them about ChildLine and the work the NSPCC does.
“We chose the NSPCC predominantly because it is mostly children involved in the dance show so we wanted to do a children’s charity. It is also the charity’s 30 year anniversary this year”
The show, called Jet Set, will feature a variety of styles ranging from ballet and tap to contemporary and hip-hop.
Members as young as three will perform to songs from Disney and Broadway, among others.
NSPCC school service co-ordinator for the East Midlands, Linda Ricketts, said: “Kerry is a passionate committed volunteer for the service, as well as teaching dance Kerry visits schools to deliver assemblies and workshops to raise awareness around abuse and to empower children to know where to get help when they need it.
“The show is another exciting example of Kerry continuing to provide empowering, inspirational and motivational opportunities for children and young people.”
For tickets, contact the Kerry Ledger School of Dance in Ilkeston on 0115 9308564.
Tickets for the show cost £10 for adults and £8.50 for concessions.
. More information on the Kerry Ledger School of Dance can be found at www.kerryledgerschoolofdance.com