When Claire was made redundant in November 2004 she decided to start up her own school as she was finding it hard to get work due to her age. We trudged round putting leaflets through doors and she opened in January 2005 with about 16 pupils. This grew as word got around that “Miss Claire’s classes were fun”. In May 2005 she successfully entered her first batch of pupils for exams with a 95% pass rate. She organised a 15 minute display for the local school summer fayre, then it was into preparation for the first full scale show. By now the pupils numbered around 50 and ranged from3 year olds to adults. Our house began to resemble a workshop as Claire and I cut and sewed the costumes together.
Claire worked hard on the choreography and music choices and along with help from various friends the show took place on 5 th March 2006 to an audience of around 300 people. The parents were amazed at what their children had achieved and we were amazed at what our pint sized daughter of 20 had achieved. She hadn’t listened to our words of caution; she had gone along at her usual 120 miles an hour and proved us all wrong.
Her dance school has been kept open in Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, and is being run by her mum and dad with the Principal Teacher being Kerry, a good friend of Claire’s. The name and motto of the school came from the dance film “Honey” which Claire-Louise used as her inspiration. “I Believe I Can” was Claire’s motto through her life and was the first piece of music played at her “Celebration of Life” service.