Dance academy

Valerie’s Reflection on 50 Golden Years as Owner of a South Tyneside Dance Academy

Valerie, 72, has retired to spend more time with her family after five decades of many astonishing achievements, including her students performing at the Royal Albert Hall and others having won scholarships across the UK.

She said: “It has been a privilege and an honor to be a part of so many lives over the past 50 years.”

One of the greatest joys, she said, has been “just to see the children progress and improve their confidence.”

Register to our daily newsletter

Newsletter cut through the noise

Valerie Shepherd who retired after running her own dance academy for 50 years.

Students from two years old to 90 were taught by Valérie. A group of 50 represented England in Los Angeles and performed at Disney.

His son Craig Armstrong spent 12 years in the musical Billy Elliot and is currently filming at Disney Studios for the musical Wonka.

Another of her students, Caroline Renno, was head dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, while Michelle Andrews has performed in numerous West End shows, and is

currently touring the UK with Chicago.

Valerie Shepherd who retired after running her own dance academy for 50 years.

Valerie herself was the director of the Northern Counties Dance Association for many years and was recently awarded the title of Life Member.

All of this translated into a successful career for Valerie, who said she had “trained many students who have become qualified teachers and run successful dance academies in South Tyneside”. “

She has also “trained former students to become professional interpreters in the West End and in Europe”.

Valérie celebrated her 50 years of activity in style.

Valerie Shepherd looks back on 50 fantastic years of running her own dance academy.

She explained, “I decided to do a parachute jump and it was awesome, out of this world.”

Leaving the academy was “a big tear”. It has been a part of my life and it has been a great privilege to be a part of the lives of so many lovely children and students.

But she thinks the time has come to retire and “enjoy my grandson more and have a vacation.”

Valérie sent her best wishes to Lauren Fox and Linzi Tomlin ‘and to the LAAOD team every success in the resumption of the academy’.

Valerie Shepherd shows how this is done with a dance step.

Read more

Read more

Nine I’m A Celebrity contestants we’ve seen in South Tyneside in recent years

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sports, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles, and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support of our journalism means that we can continue to tell the stories of South Tyneside for generations to come. Click here to subscribe – and click here to get an overview of news and sports from the Gazette delivered to your inbox via our email newsletters.

Scenes from the Valerie Shepherd Dance Academy over the years.
The Valerie Shepherd dance team representing England.