Nostalgia Saturday JUNE 22 SPREAD for pages 2 to 3 - Use 9 pic 300 template

Text for spread on Barbara French dancers

AS crowds today enjoy watching a traditional Barrow carnival parade from Duke Street to the Abbey Road public park we take a nostalgic look at one of the dancing schools which has helped make such events special through the years.

Many mums with youngsters in the parade will have once taken part themselves in a troupe from the Barbara French dancing school.

An article in The Mail, on April 16 in 1981, noted: “Barbara first started gyrating across the floor as a tiny tot and when she was 16 opened a dance school of her own at St Luke’s Hall, Barrow.

“At her first class she had a handful of pupils.

“She now has 120 ranging from two to 16 years.

“Her troupes have taken part in the Barrow carnival every year.”

Mrs French said: “I always wanted to have a dance school of my own.

“I did want to be a professional dancer but you never see dancers as small as me.”

The Mail, on February 26 in 1993, said that an eight-strong Barbara French troupe filmed a high-energy dance routine with Michael Barrymore for his hugely popular Granada TV Saturday show.

The article noted: “The girls battled through several nerve-wracking auditions before winning the right to perform their Grease Revival.”

The junior TV stars were Jemma Dick, Rachel Burns, Louise Smith, Tara Mangal, Joanne Carvill, Beverley Gooding, Kerry Worsley and Yvette Snow.

Easter Monday in 1994 was to witness the Barbara French Dancers with a pre-match routine to entertain the rugby league crowd at Craven Park stadium, where Barrow were to welcome Cumbrian rivals Workington.

Practice sessions were being held at the Roosegate Community Centre and The Mail on Tuesday, March 29, in 1994, noted that it was hoped the dancers would perform as cheerleaders at all Barrow's home fixtures the following year.

Dance routines were based on hits such Wig-Wam Bam by the Sweet and the performers ranged in age from 22 to just six.