The Club’s strong foundations are built on over 70 years of training pupils in the graceful Russian style of Classical Ballet, as in 1946 the former Imperial Russian Ballerina, Madame Lydia Kyasht, established Cirencester Ballet Club.
As the first dance school of its kind in the area, its aim was to encourage an interest in and enjoyment of dance and performance amongst disadvantaged children within the community. Upon her death in 1959 her daughter, Miss Lydia Kyasht, assumed the role as teacher, choreographer, musical arranger and costume and scenery designer. It was with Miss Lydia that our enthusiastic teacher Jenny formed her passion for ballet, alongside Cressida and several other ladies of the Club. In 1989 Jenny joined the Club as a member of the teaching team, where she helped produce several successful major ballets and divertissements.
Then in 1998 a change of direction saw the Club rejuvenated, expanding its provision of dance but maintaining the original aims and adopting the all encompassing name, Cirencester Dance Club.
Now with over 10 years experience, with dance classes spanning the entire age range from 3 1/2 to 65, the club continues to develop its identity, with the emphasis on participation and enjoyment for its members and not just for attainment of examination passes and medals. Members are encouraged to develop their musicality, stage awareness and confidence through performance.
More recently Senior Grade members have become involved in back stage production, helping with scenery, lighting, music and costume manufacturing, thus discovering and developing their skills and forming a sound basis for a possible career in the industry. Some pupils are invited to get involved with Cirencester Operatic Society, alongside Jenny to gain valuable experience in a different genre.
In 2007, as recognition of its contribution and value to the community the Club was granted charitable status and will, we hope, continue to build upon its strengths into the next decade.
Image © National Portrait Gallery, London – used under the Creative Commons licence.