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Collette is Bridlington’s greatest show-woman!

Collette Tyler
Collette Tyler

She is celebrating 30 years of teaching dance to Bridlington’s children and as her special anniversary show title insists ‘It’s Not Over Yet’.

Collette Tyler has run her own school in the town for three decades and her current students will celebrate the milestone with a spectacular performance at the Spa this weekend.

Collette's dancers with the Spa pantomime cast in 2003

Collette's dancers with the Spa pantomime cast in 2003

She said she still gets as much of a buzz from it as she did when she was a young girl.

“Dancing just makes you feel good,” Collette told the Free Press. “It keeps you young and happy.

“I come in here every morning to do some Zumba. Sometimes you are tired and don’t want to do it, but it really sets you up for the day.

“There’s never a day when I don’t want to come to work. And I never stop working.

Award-winning students in 2015

Award-winning students in 2015

“When I am at home, I am always sourcing costumes or looking for inspiration.

“I can’t imagine a life without it.”

The final rehearsals are under way for the 30th anniversary show, which will be ‘action-packed’ and will be feature popular songs from 42nd Street, Aladdin and The Greatest Showman amongst others.

It is being held at the Spa tomorrow and Saturday night, at 7pm, with tickets priced £11 for adults and £7 for children.

Colourful costumes from 2002

Colourful costumes from 2002

Buy them from the box office on 678258.

Preparations began back in January but Collette admitted: “I still get a bit nervous before a show but that’s a good thing. It’s not good to be blasé.”

Thousands of boys and girls have passed through her dance school over the last 30 years, and dance seems more popular than ever, thanks to TV reality shows and talent competitions.

“It’s more accessible than it ever has been,” she said.

Collette in her studio in Springfield Avenue

Collette in her studio in Springfield Avenue

But there was none of that when Collette first put on her dancing shoes.

She said: “My sister used to dance. I pestered my mum to go, although I didn’t actually start until I was seven, which was quite late.

“I was a class teacher from 14 and then I took over the school from Dodo Milner in 1988.”

Sessions were held at Emmanuel Church, St Mary’s School and above Quay Leisure, before operations moved into a purpose-built centre in Springfield Avenue in 2000.

The trophy cabinet on the wall is full of silverware from competitions from around the country and the premises now welcome more than 200 dancers every week.

Classes are held six days a week, seven when the groups are close to a show or competition.

The dancers range from 15 months – ‘just walking’ – to over 80 – ‘just about still walking’!

And while some of them just dance for a hobby or as a way of keeping fit, others thrive in the competitive nature of it – especially Collette.
She said: “Competitions give me the biggest buzz and I always like seeing the shows.

“I love every element of dancing. I love tap because that is what I am best at, but I’m happy to teach it all.”

Collette is helped by her niece Amy Dyas who helps to run many of the classes.

Her input helps to keep the school’s repetoire varied and fresh.

“Lots of schools just repeat the same things but we are always evolving,” said Collette. “I am not happy to just stand still.

“I believe in carrying on learning. I’m not happy unless I have learnt something new every week.”

Passing on her knowledge to Bridlington’s youngsters has taken Collette and her students to some of the world’s biggest stages.

She said: “I have seen my dancers at Saddlers Wells in London, which is called the home of dance, and at EuroDisney. We have done lots of national competitions too.

“One of my personal highlights was Wayne Sleep was doing one of his workshops in Scarborough and he pulled me to the front of the group and called me a star.”

Collette says she spends her rare spare time watching musicals.Her favourite is still Les Miserables, although The Greatest Showman now pushes it close, and she loved Michael Flatley at the peak of his Riverdance fame.

She is quick to acknowledge the part her parents, Alice and David Pollard, have played in her success. “They both worked really hard, at night and weekends, to make sure I didn’t go without.

“It’s not an easy hobby and it is harder than it has ever been. You have got to up your game every time to do well.”

And with her work taking up so much of her time, Collette had a special word of praise for her husband Andy Dale.

“It’s not easy being a dance teacher’s husband but he is always there helping in 
the background.”

She recognises that she has a reputation as something of a hard taskmaster but her methods clearly get results.

Four of her students are heading to university and college to study dance and plenty of other former dancers are working on cruise ships and in professional shows around the globe.

Every year, her team of dancers take to the stage at Bridlington Spa for the annual pantomime and they have welcomed all sorts of professionals from around the country to the studio for workshops.

One of her school’s street dancers, Toby McTurk, has been in the news recently after making the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent with his boyband Bring It North.
And one of the biggest developments in recent years has been the number of boys taking up dancing.

Who knows what trends and styles will happen next but Collette will tackle them head- on and continue to pass on her love of dancing to the next generation.

And she’ll only stop when she physically has to.