DANCING memories from the Fifties have come flooding back for one Rawthorpe resident – inspired by the publication of a picture of an 18-year-old Mary Firth who, in 1953, had just received a prestigious award from the International Dancing Masters’ Association.
Mary, of Fartown Green, was ICI’s Ball Queen at the time. She was featured in our memory lane columns in September.
And reader George Taylor, of Nether Crescent, Rawthorpe, remembers her well. He writes:
“Sixty years ago (1948) I went to the kids’ class at Rawlins Dance Studio on Railway Street. The studio was upstairs above Streamline Taxis and classes (from 10.30-noon) cost a shilling.
“I stayed with the dancing school until September 1953. A small girl called Mary was the best dancer in school.
“You can imagine my surprise when I saw the photograph. I took all my exams on the same day as Mary. The award she is holding is the International Award – and I have one too.
“You could only win that award if you had passed three gold bars and you could only take one gold bar a year. As you had to pass bronze, silver and then three golds, it took about five years to achieve International standard,” he reveals.
“Ronnie, our teacher, used to chide myself and a dancer called George Broderick for turning up half crippled for our dancing lessons on Sunday mornings. George played Rugby League and I played Union for Huddersfield YMCA. We just laughed and got on with it!
“As gold bar dancers we were allowed to work as dancing staff for Ronnie’s father, James Vivian Rawlins, at St Thomas’s Club, Longroyd Bridge.
“If you took beginners around the floor, teaching them the basic steps three evenings a week, we could dance at all their venues free for the rest of the week. Mary was a staff member.
“Happy days and happy memories!”