School Founders: Constance Grant and Harry Silvester
The record speaks for itself. For over 90 years The Constance Grant Dance Centre has helped children, young people and adults to follow their dreams. Many have enjoyed successful careers in the professional theatre; many have gone into dance teaching and a huge number have experienced the joy of achieving their own personal goals. The Dance Centre has a reputation for high quality teaching and coaching; it regularly has the highest number of IDTA theatre examinations entries; a reputation built on hard work and a passionate belief that everyone can achieve; and all of this is delivered by dedicated staff in a happy atmosphere.
In 2000 the School received the House of Commons Award in recognition of 75 years service to the community.
Born in 1902, Constance Grant was the youngest of seven children. She embarked on a career in dance through sheer guts and determination.
Connie met her husband Harry Silvester, himself an accomplished pianist, while working at a dinner dance. Connie provided the dance troupe, Harry was the band leader. This was a match made in heaven as Harry was an astute businessman and together they built the 'Constance Grant' legacy.
They started the business at the Dance Centre on Psalter Lane where it remains to this day.
In 1937, Connie and Harry had a daughter Judith Ann, 'Miss Judy', who eventually became Principal of the Psalter Lane Studios, while Connie ran the Cavendish Ballroom.
As a child Miss Judy trained at the Dance Centre. She went on to study at the Bush Davies College, London and then the Lehmiski School of Ballet, Birmingham. She achieved the highest qualifications in all genres of theatre and ballroom dancing.
In 2008 she received the IDTA Distinguished Service Award. She also received two Carl Alan awards (the Oscars of the Dance World), for Outstanding Services to Dance.
Miss Judy also worked closely with many local theatre companies including Croft House where she started first as a dancer, then progressed to leading lady, Choreographer and finally in 1978 she became Director. She was highly respected and loved by all.
Miss Judy was an IDTA Senior Examiner, served on its Board of Directors for 25 years and in 1992/3 she had the honour of serving as the organisations President. She was a member of the Theatre Craft and Tap faculties who recreated the syllabus for the IDTA exam structure that is used today. She was the Chair of the 'Miss Dance of Great Britain' and 'Dance Master UK' Championships organising committee, bringing this esteemed event to Sheffield until it outgrew the City Hall and moved to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Miss Judy continued to coach, examine, direct and choreograph around the world until she passed away suddenly whilst visiting Cyprus in her capacity as a senior examiner of the IDTA in June 2013.