Centenarian dance teacher speaks of delight at being awarded BEM

·2-min read

A 104-year-old dance teacher has spoken of her delight at being awarded a British Empire Medal in recognition of a lifetime of work dedicated to the arts.

Angela Redgrave has been the principal of the Bristol School of Dancing since 1970, having started dancing herself at the relatively late age of 10.

The centenarian, who lives in Bristol, spoke of her delight at being awarded the BEM for services to dance.

104-year-old dance teacher Angela Redgrave has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (Redgrave family/PA)
104-year-old dance teacher Angela Redgrave has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (Redgrave family/PA)

“I am very well at the moment and very happy and, of course, I feel very honoured to be presented with such a lovely award,” she said.

“When I found out, ‘I thought why have I got this?’ Of course, apart from that, naturally honoured, very pleased and very happy.”

Miss Redgrave was born in Finchley in London in 1917 and grew up in Watford where she first learned to dance.

After the Second World War, she moved to Somerset and restarted her teacher training to launch her own dance school, where she has since taught thousands of young people.

When she started dancing as a child, she was taught the Royal Academy of Dancing Syllabus, which she has continued to follow today.

Miss Redgrave said she expected a few phone calls from former students congratulating her on the honour.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“I am quite sure they will, and I am quite sure I will get many phone calls, I suppose, and wanting to talk about it, which will be lovely,” she said.

“I shall be getting my Queen’s handwave all ready.”

Her commitment and professionalism has previously been recognised with a lifetime achievement award by The Royal Academy of Dance.

Daughter Felicity Redgrave, who now runs the dance school, said: “She is still very dedicated to her beloved Bristol School of Dancing.

“She’s incredibly honoured to have been awarded this British Empire Medal and not a little bit surprised.

“It is a lifelong commitment and dedication to dance and teaching, teaching children and young people.”

Miss Redgrave, who was born in London in 1917, started dancing when she was aged 10 (Redgrave family/PA)
Miss Redgrave, who was born in London in 1917, started dancing when she was aged 10 (Redgrave family/PA)

During the coronavirus lockdown she organised along with her daughter, the online teaching of pupils.

“Dance is something that everybody can do, and we want to be very open to all children, from whatever background, to come and take part because it should be available for everybody,” her daughter said.

“The lockdown hasn’t done anyone any favours at all, as we know it’s been dreadful for everybody, but the young people have been really adversely affected.

“I now run the Bristol School of Dancing but she’s still very much got her fingers in the pie and it is her baby.”

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