Belinda Shaw (left) and Raewyn Riddell say goodbye to their
dance studio and pupils (standing) Rebecca Murray (17) and
(from left) Tayla West (15), Zara Gulliven (12) and Kaitlin
West (13). Photo by Linda Robertson.
A 52-year Mosgiel tradition ends this year as the last
Meenan to run the Meenan Dance Centre hangs up her ballet
Belinda Shaw (42), whose grandparents set up Meenan Dance
Centres, has been running the centre with good friend Raewyn
Riddell (47) for nearly 20 years.
The pair have decided it is time for a change and have sold
the dance centre to Clutha woman Shannon Cunningham. It will
continue to operate as Meenan Dance School.
Having learnt dance and been involved in the school for
nearly 40 years, the pair said the decision to sell had not
really set in.
They would miss the children and were proud to be leaving at
a time when many of their dancers had done very well in dance
competitions, in both ballet and hip-hop.
News they were selling the centre had led many former pupils
to comment on their memories of the school.
''It was a big part of their lives back then. We're quite
For Mrs Shaw, it ended a family connection that began in 1961
when her grandparents Frank and Pat started the school in
Dunedin after the retirement of Dunedin dance teacher Lily
They soon had centres in Mosgiel, Milton, Balclutha and
Seacliff but in 1971 centralised in Dunedin and Mosgiel.
While Dunedin's centre closed in 1988, Mosgiel's continued
under Belinda's mother, Maree Meenan-McLeod.
When she moved to Christchurch in 1994, Mrs Shaw and Mrs
Riddell took it over.
They have balanced running the school with their day jobs and
family commitments - they have five children between them -
with help from very supportive husbands, but are now keen to
have more time for themselves. The first thing on the agenda
was getting fit, they said.