Following our Summer 2017 school reunion we have decided to create a website about La Roche. Memories, anecdotes and photos are warmly welcomed from pupils, relatives, friends and admirers.
There has been a lot of interest in the Facebook page started by Liz Grace Cenci, despite the school having closed in the 1970s. And it’s wonderful to hear about ex-pupils meeting up again, and about younger generations suddenly seeing their Granny in an entirely new light!
From the late 1920s to the mid-1970s, La Roche School of Dancing was known as a place of excellence for budding dancers.
At first, the school’s home was on Castle Hill, Maidenhead. The sign outside declared that Miss Roche Trained with Madame Vacani, Instructress to the Royal Family, thus making clear her own teaching pedigree.
In 1945, the school’s HQ became Kingsway in Slough, where Miss Roche began a full-time syllabus, including education for “children who wish to take their dancing seriously.”
Whether full-time, a baby class tot, or an ‘after schooler’, pupils entered an orderly world where Miss Roche reigned supreme.
Some of her girls (or ‘gels’ as she called us) progressed in a classical way, to The Royal Ballet or Sadler’s Wells Schools, before joining a ballet company. Others were drawn to the bright lights of the West End shows, using singing and acting skills to complement their dancing.
Naturally, we didn’t all have the talent, temperament or passion to dance into adulthood.
Yet few of us will have been unaffected by the influence of Miss Roche.