Exhibition to honour Newhaven dance teachers

Margaret and Jean Cantell
Margaret and Jean Cantell

A special exhibition will honour two sisters from Newhaven who have been teaching dancing in the town for 60 years.

Jean and Margaret Cantell, of Studio Tempo, began their dance school at Marshall Hall in Newhaven in 1953.

Newhaven Museum is staging the exhibition to celebrate their achievements and is inviting former pupils to come along to share their photos.

Ian Everest from Newhaven Museum said: “It was in 1953 that the Marshall Hall became vacant as it was no longer required as the ‘Welcome Home Club’ for forces coming home after the war.

“Having been teaching dancing for nine months, with pupils gaining very good exam results and classes growing in popularity, Jean felt confident to take on the lease of the Marshall Hall for seven years – that seven year lease is now 60 years old.”

Jean joined the Peacehaven Branch of the Sussex School of Dancing at the age of nine and later, when attending Lewes County Grammar School for Girls, transferred to the Lewes Branch of the dancing school. After a few years Margaret also went to dancing classes.

When Jean left school she attended a two year student teacher training course at Fairlawn Academy of Dancing in Haywards Heath.

After completing the course, she obtained professional teaching qualifications in the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in 1952.

She then started teaching ballet and tap dancing for children, also adult ballroom and Latin dancing in various halls in Newhaven and Seaford, where the Meeching School of Dancing was born.

Sister Margaret at seven was a star pupil, and helped dispensing tea and biscuits at the adults ballroom classes.

This year they won a lifetime achievement award at the Seahaven Business Awards.

To commemorate this achievement Newhaven Museum at Paradise Park, Avis Road, will stage an exhibition from 11am on Saturday August 3.