Tributes to dance teacher from her ‘little darlings’

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Tributes have been paid to a Brighouse dance teacher who taught thousands of dancers who went on to have success around the world.

Winsome Needham (neeBroomhall) passed on her knowledge and passion for the arts at the Elwyn School of Dance which was based at the Rydings Hall in Church Lane.

The 97-year-old, mother in law of the late Christopher Gable, artistic director of the Northern Ballet Theatre who was married to her daughter Carole, passed away in June.

Many of the dancers at the school performed in NBT productions. Johnny Casson’s daughter Lucy attended the school, and went on to work in film, theatre and TV. Martin Howland, Artistic Director of Renaissance Art in Leeds also attended.

Ellie Brook along with Melissa Eastwood set up a Facebook Group to organise a reunion and soon had members joining from as far as Australia and the USA. It wasn’t until the group was formed that they realised Winsome was still alive.

However, when former dancers learnt of her passing and were unable to attend her funeral, they uploaded videos of their final curtsy, a tribute the family wanted at the end of her funeral.

“How one lady managed to spread the magic of dance from such small roots to the four corners of the world took resolution and spirit,” said Ellie. “Her commitment and dedication to ballet and her pupils was something I can only describe in retrospect as otherworldly.

“The legacy she has left behind is enormous and because of her simple, dedicated, tough love and discipline she will live on forever in all of her ‘little darlings’.”

The reunion will be taking place on August 22 at The Millers Bar, Brighouse 4pm-10pm.