Sale ends family tradition

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.
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 slippers.

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 honoured.''

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 Stevens.

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.

 

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