Moving Through Our Dance History
Not every Move member at our HQ is a dancer, but Move’s roots are firmly set within dance passion.
Where did it all begin?
John Cormack’s (one of our directors) grandfather Barry Thacker is where it all begun. He opened a dance school in Altrincham in the late 1940’s after the war, when everyone’s love of dancing was taking off again. He started out as a teacher of ballroom dancing, as it was the most popular style of dance at that time.
After years of teaching at his own school, Barry left to teach at - what was formerly known as - the Hollingworth School of Dance at the weekends. The dance school was owned by June Rendell, who in fact still teaches now! Barry taught children’s ballroom and latin dance classes at June’s school. He also taught adults’ dancing classes three nights a week at three different dance schools between the 50’s and 60’s around the Manchester area. The adults’ classes used to consist of a line of men and women facing each other, and then partnering up. This dancing style was and still is a fantastic way to socialise. Barry loved all dance styles and regularly hosted workshops on popular dances at the time, like “the twist” from the rock and roll song.
Come Dancing was the original dance competition show before Strictly Come Dancing was born from it. The show used to air on a saturday night and consisted of professional ballroom dancers competing in a series of heats to be crowned the winner. Barry competed in a local heat in Blackpool Tower, but was knocked out during the final heat.
John’s grandfather graded in ballroom, and became a certified dance teacher as part of the IDTA.
John’s mother Carole (Barry’s daughter) started ballet at age 4 at June Rendell’s dance school, although Barry only ever taught Carole’s sister how to dance (John’s auntie).
Carole advanced to learning dance styles like tap and would sometimes even be Barry’s ballroom assistant when she was 11. She did ballet and tap dance exams as a child, grading to the highest level possible in ballet. Carole says she stopped dance at age 16 to essentially “become an adult”. Age 16 is usually where a dancer decides whether they want to invest in dance as their future career or keep it as a hobby. Yet Carole is an example of how the rhythm and love of dance never leaves you, because when John’s sister Alex was 4 years old, Carole began to dance again. That was 36 years ago, and since then Carole has continued ballet and tap. She found a love of Irish dancing and its lighter variant Irish step dancing, appalachian dancing, and modern.
But how does it feel to step back into dance? Carole actually found it easy returning to dance, and she even had the same teacher June Rendells that she had when she was a child. The only restriction Carole faced was that RAD have am age limit on examinations, which meant she couldn’t take exams in the additional grades for ballet.
John believes his passion for dance comes from his grandfather. John started tap dancing at age 4 but was often deterred by the fact that he was often the only boy in the class. He didn’t revisit dancing seriously until his adult years when he discovered his love of salsa, ballroom and latin dancing. John would go regularly to the Copacabana Club in Manchester to dance salsa socially and enthuses about the warm multicultural environment he found there. It was a great opportunity to test out his leading skills with different partners, but of course, you can’t be shy when dancing with a partner because you need to have a convincing connection that flows into your moves. John’s secret which he believes all dancers understand is that “you need to lose the fear” and remove too much thought from controlling your body because “it's about being free”. Only then will you truly release the joy in dance.
So, now you know our Move dance history and where our passion to provide stylish dance and activewear originates. We hope you feel inspired to move now no matter what your age, or level of dance ability!