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F or the last 61 years, the Pat Steel School of Dance has built an enviable reputation not only for its incredibly high standards and levels of achievement in all the major dance disciplines, but for the friendly, lively atmosphere, which continues to be its hallmark today.
We accept children from 3 years old to adult. All parents know that children learn so much better when they are enjoying themselves and we make sure that this enjoyment is conveyed, not just in our kids' classes but right the way through the age range.
We teach the following disciplines:
Initially, we focus our learning on co-ordination, timing and rhythm in fun-based routines set to the latest popular music as well as the classics. Building on these early stages, we continue to develop the dancers' ability further and students are able to learn the various dance forms in more depth.
All our students are invited to take regular examinations in their chosen discipline. As well as working through the graded system, performance medals are also taken and the school show, which brings all the branches together, is performed every 2 years.
Our aim is to give our students a skill that will be with them for life, to develop an understanding and love of dance. In many cases, our students have gone on to become professional dancers and teachers.
P atricia Ann Steel was born in 1929 in Ilford, Essex to Maud and Horace Steel.
(Luckily, those names were not passed down the family!) Pat had an older brother, Tony, and she strived to do everything that he could do. In an attempt to stop her annoying him so much, she was enrolled in dance classes which she loved imme diately. Tony and Pat were evacuated to Cornwall for the war years, but upon returning to Ealing, London, Pat continued her dance training at the Joyce Butler School of Dance.
From the age of 12, Pat started helping out in classes and there discovered a passion for teaching. She soon became a qualified teacher in both Royal Academy and National Association examination boards. Pat founded her school (the Pat Steel School of Dance) in the front room of her parents’ house in 1955 in River Road, Maidenhead. As classes expanded, she outgrew the house and hired premises at the Maidenhead British Legion. It was whilst she was teaching ballroom dancing in the rooms above “The Bear” in Maidenhead, that she met one of her pupils, a tall dark and handsome man, who would later become her husband Bob. They married in 1957, and went on to have two children, James and Candida, known as Jim and Candy.
Pat and Bob built their house in Holtspur where Pat decided she would keep donkeys as pets. Many older Holtspur residents remember the adventurous escaping donkeys running throughout the village and Pat was locally known as ‘The Ballet Teacher’ or ‘The Donkey lady’! Her school thrived and she put on her first biannual show at the Maidenhead Town Hall in the late 1950’s. As the school grew she started classes in Holtspur, then Flackwell Heath and also Seer Green. Bob died in 1988 after a long illness. Having cared for him and struggling with the loss of her partner, Pat threw herself fully into the development of the dance school and her pets. Her dogs, Annie and then Max, were regular visitors at ballet classes and little children would often find a wagging tail wander past them when trying to perform their dances.
As Pat’s health began to deteriorate, Candy stepped into her shoes and took over the day-to-day running of the school, as well as teaching at many of the branches which had by then extended to Windsor and Loudwater with the Maidenhead branches based at the Magnet and Altwood.
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