The Claire Dobinson School of Dancing offers classes for children aged 2½ years through to adult, professional and vocational levels, and dance teacher training.

From our beautiful, purpose made Dance Studios in Rowsley near Matlock, we hold classes in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Gymnastic Dance, Freestyle, Street, Musical Theatre and Singing, with over 50 lessons per week.



Summer term ends on Sunday 24 July - but we are offering extra special Summer classes for the first two weeks of the Holiday.

"The Lion King" Musical Theatre Summer School will be held on Thursday and Friday, 28 - 29 July. The Dance Summer School will be held Monday - Thursday, 1 - 4 August. Both run from 9am to 3pm so you will need to bring nut-free snacks, lunch and a water bottle.

Adult / Senior classes (Grade 6 and above) will be held on Thursday 4 August:

6:30 - 7:00pmAdult / Senior Tap
7:00 - 7:45pmAdult / Senior Ballet
7:45 - 8:30pmAdult / Senior Modern

Places on all Summer Schools are limited, so please sign up early to avoid disappointment.


Come and see us on Saturday 25th June as part of Bakewell's fabulous 18th International Day of Dance.

The streets of Bakewell will be alive with over 30 free performances and workshops, showcasing dance styles from all around the world.

Dancers from the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing will make their star appearance in the Riverside Gardens at 3pm.


On 28 and 29 May, we made our long-awaited return to Buxton Opera House with a sparkling new full school production 'Once Upon a Timestep'. It was an extravaganza of dance, music, lights, colour, feathers and sequins - and a 'Marvellous Party' for all involved!

Click to join Claire and Gloria on the Shows page as they look through the photographs of each dance and remember their time on stage.


Some truly fantastic news - our very own Daisy Edwards is back on stage in Disney's dazzling new Musical of Beauty and the Beast.

Daisy covers for the lead role of Belle - in the gorgeous yellow dress pictured below - and also dances Swing which means she will cover many other roles in the production during the UK wide tour in 2022.

Beauty and the Beast Musical

Photograph from the Beauty and the Beast website, click for tour details and photos

Daisy in costume as Belle

Daisy backstage in costume as Belle - click to enlarge

Click on any of the links below to see what was happening at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing in previous terms.
2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014



We offer classes in ballet, tap, contemporary, modern, acrobatic and street dance, following the National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD) syllabus.


Classes are available for ages 2½ to adult, from beginner to professional level, and all styles are suitable for boys and girls. We also offer pilates and sports therapy classes at the school in association with partner organisations.

Ballet classes for all ages and abilities Ballet classes for all ages and abilities Ballet classes for all ages and abilities

Ballet classes are available for children from nursery age through to vocational and professional level. Ballet is greatly enjoyable, promoting excellent posture, fitness and grace, as well as the expressive qualities of the style.

The NATD syllabus provides a comprehensive training with optional examinations. There are classes suitable for children, teenagers and adults, with or without prior dance training.


Tap dancing classes are available for children from 4 years of age and teenagers with or without prior dance experience. Tap is great fun and encourages rhythmical development and musicality.

The NATD graded syllabus introduces and develops rhythmical skills, co - ordination, and confidence. There are medals tests at Junior and Senior levels where students are encouraged to give a stage performance in costume - and are rewarded with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals.


The NATD Contemporary Dance syllabus is a fantastic preparation for GCSE, A Level and Degree level dance courses. NATD is delighted that their Contemporary Syllabus has been officially recognised by Ofqual. This is currently the only recognised Contemporary syllabus to be eligible for UCAS points.

Former students have gained Degrees and Masters from various universities and the Laban Centre, London. Our dancers are taught choreographic skills as well as Contemporary technique. The contemporary group help to choreograph their own expressive dances for our shows and performances at Buxton Opera House.


Modern dance is an exciting and varied style which incorporates Modern Jazz, Lyrical Modern and Musical Theatre styles. Modern dance classes are available for children aged 4 years of age, teenagers and adults. Classes open with a lively warm-up to pop music and follow the NATD Modern syllabus.

Students develop skill, strength and style as they progress through the graded syllabus, and work towards medal tests which focus on presentation, style and fun. Modern stage can also be studied in the NATD theatrical awards giving the opportunity to perform duets and trios in addition to solos.


Gymnastic dance incorporates tricks such as cartwheels, handstands and walkovers into dance material.

Gymnastic dance is great fun for boys and girls of all ages, and we have classes for age 3½ and above. However it is also designed for those planning a career in the theatre. The syllabus prepares the students for the demands of modern choreography requiring well limbered bodies. All classes start with a modern dance warm-up.


Street is a fun, exciting, current style of dance - high energy and high imact! It is purely for enjoyment and development; there are no examinations to take. Street is supplementary to other styles as well as being a standalone dance form. Classes are avaiable for boys and girls aged 7 years and upwards.


Sports therapy works alongside Physiotherapy for injury prevention and rehabilitation, with a focus on functional, occupational and exercise-related fitness. It can be used to prepare for sports training and competitions or normal occupational / functional activities.

Sports Therapy is now available in Studio 3, with diagnosis, exercises, massage and acupuncture provided by Kelly from Bakewell Physiotherapy Group / Tor Sports Therapy.


Matwork, HIP and Reformer Pilates classes are taught by Viki Westall-Eyre.

Pilates is a powerful technique to build core strength and flexibility practised by all top dancers. It can be practised at any age and level of ability, and Viki's classes cover beginner or intermediate matwork, stretch and tone as well as the HIP classes (High Intensity Pilates) and Reformer classes. The Reformer is the original resistance based machine designed by Joseph Pilates to build strength and improve mobility. It is ideal for rehab as well as improving athletic performance. One-to-one and small group classes are available on request.



Optional examinations are available with the NATD in ballet, contemporary, tap, modern and gymnastic dance. Several examination sessions are normally held each term.

We are very proud of the outstanding results our students have achieved over the years. In the last academic year, our students took 500 examinations with 100% pass rate - with all pupils awarded either merit or distiction in many examination sessions.


The NATD is an OFQUAL and CDET recognised 'Awarding Organisation'. Since April 2015, NATD qualifications may be referred to in a UCAS application. Grades 6/7/8 and Intermediate examinations qualify for points according to the UCAS points tariff that may be accepted by universities and colleges. Acceptance of the tariff points varies between higher education institutions.

If you are taking an exam, you will be tested on theoretical knowledge as well as performance. Ask at reception for a glossary if you don't have a copy, then when you have learned the definitions, click on the correct pair of shoes below to test your knowledge.

Click to test your theory knowledge:

Test yourself - Ballet Test yourself - Modern Test yourself - Tap


Pupils have successfully auditioned for full time and associate training places with the major ballet schools, and to perform in English Youth Ballet productions. See the Shows page below for more details and some lovely pictures.



Every two years, Claire choreographs and stages a full school production. All of the pupils of the school are invited to perform with each style of dance class they attend - and to enjoy the tremendous experience of dancing on a real stage.

Our most recent full school production, 'Once Upon a Timestep', was performed at the beautiful Buxton Opera House on Saturday 28 May (evening performance) and Sunday 29 May (afternoon matinee). Huge congratulations to all our star dancers and many thanks to the helpers backstage - and to our wonderful audiences!

The photographs below give a flavour of the production - a taste of each dance. Click on the programme to see more pictures from the two performances.




Click on any of the show programmes below to revisit our previous full school performances in pictures.


English Youth Ballet perform full length productions of classical ballets with professional principal dancers in the leading roles in regional theatres across the UK, giving young dancers outside London an opportunity to perform within a professional setting.

We are very proud of Ben, Nina, Jay, Phoebe, Chloe and Estelle who were chosen from hundreds of talented young dancers to dance in performances at Nottingham's Royal Centre and Buxton Opera House over the last few years:

Click on the show programmes below for more information and pictures from the English Youth Ballet website.

English Youth Ballet


Groups of students also perform more frequently in local displays and productions, and national events and competitions. Photographs of some of these can be seen on the news pages.



Dance classes are taught by Claire, Daisy, Kelly and Viki. Viki also teaches Pilates (including Pilates on the Reformer) and Kelly provides Sports Therapy. Gloria, Sarah and Mary manage Front-of-House. All hold CRB enhanced disclosure certificates.

Claire Dobinson

Claire Dobinson

FNATD (Dist.), BA Hons., MGPTD, CDMT Recognised Teacher, NATD Examiner

Claire has been owner and principal of the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing for over 20 years.

A Fellow of the National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD), Claire is an NATD Examiner, qualified to examine in the UK and also overseas in person and online. Claire chairs the North Midland Theatrical Area Committee and is an elected member of the committees for Contemporary Dance and Gymnastic Dance. Claire co-choreographed the Gymnastic Dance syllabus which is Ofqual approved and taught world wide.

Claire is a CDMT (Council for Dance Education and Musical Theatre) recognised teacher, and the school holds recognised school status, which is a great honour.

Claire started her ballet training at 2½ years of age and trained at The Elizabeth Chamberlain School of Dancing from the age of eight. She qualified as a Ballet teacher at the age of 19 in 1997, a Tap teacher in 1998 and as a Modern Dance teacher in 1999. Upon Elizabeth Chamberlain's retirement in 2000, Claire continued this established school under her own name and introduced Contemporary Dance to the styles taught. In 2000 Claire was elected to Membership of the Guild of Professional Teachers of Dancing.

Claire completed her BA Honours Degree in English with Dance in 2001. She continued to study with the National Association of Teachers of Dancing and in 2002 gained her Membership Modern qualification with 90%. In 2003 she completed her Fellowship in Modern with 87% - the highest level of qualification possible. Claire continues to study so that her school can provide the best possible tuition, and was awarded a Distinction in both Licentiate Ballet and Tap exams in 2018.

At the age of 25 (the minimum age) Claire was invited to become a Contemporary Dance Examiner for the NATD. She has conducted examination sessions all over the country, and she has since been elected to the NATD committees for both Gymnastic Dance and Contemporary Dance. A member of the North Midland Theatrical Committee for many years, Claire was elected to Chair in 2020.

Claire has choreographed and produced many full school performances. She co-produced 'The Gypsy Baron', a full length ballet, in 2004 with the Moscow Ballet Theatre The Eighth Wonder. Her biennual school productions, 'Tutu' in 2011, 'Tutu 2' in 2013, 'En Pointe' in 2015 and 'Raise the Barre' in 2017 all fully sold-out at Buxton Opera House - 'Raise the Barre' within days! Since 'Fascinating Rhythm!' in 2019 our performances have been extended to two days, with matinee and evening performances.


Daisy Rathbone

Daisy Rathbone

ANATD (Dist.), NDPD, NVQ Level 6

Daisy Rathbone has been a pupil of the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing from a very young age before attending Northern Ballet School in Manchester for vocational training. She then danced her way round the world working for Costa Cruises - see our Graduates page for details - before rejoining us as a student teacher.

Daisy completed her NATD Associate Ballet Teacher Training in 2017, flying through the examination with a fantastic 92%. She is now a fully qualified Dance Teacher, running her own regular classes as well as private coaching.

Daisy continues to study and has just achieved another brilliant distinction in Advanced One Ballet.


Viki Westall-Eyre

Viki Westall-Eyre

ARAD, NATD Patron, BCP Advanced Matwork, Reformer and Supervising Teacher

We are extremely lucky to have Viki Westall-Eyre, former principal ballerina with Northern Ballet Theatre, teaching Pilates - including Pilates on the Reformer - and occasional dance classes at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing.

Viki danced professionally with London Festival Ballet and as a principal with Northern Ballet Theatre, dancing all the classical roles in Britain and abroad.

Retiring from the stage after 17 years with Northern Ballet Theatre, Viki went on to teach for many of the top vocational dance schools and institutions (Central School of Ballet, London Studio Centre, Northern Ballet Associates, Northern Ballet School, Centrepointe, the RAD, BBO, NATD, ISTD, BBA, and the Prince's Trust). In 2001 Viki went to study the Ichino technique with Yoko at BalletMet in Columbus and has been working alongside Miss Ichino ever since. Viki became a Pilates teacher in 2001 and teaches reformer and matwork up to Advanced standard, and is a Body Control Pilates supervising teacher. Viki also works in association with the Bakewell Physiotherapy Clinic.

As well as her Pilates tuition at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing, Viki writes and reviews for Dance Europe magazine and is Senior teacher for Northern Ballet Academy's Associate program, where she teaches both students and company members Pilates on the Reformer.

For more information, see Viki's company website, www.pilatestart.co.uk.


Kelly Lynn

Kelly Lynn

We are delighted to have Kelly Lynn teaching Street Dance and Sports Therapy for us. Kelly trained at Phil Winston's Theatreworks and has had an exciting international career performing and choreographing. Her credits include P&O Cruises, Sydney Dance Company in Australia, HollyOaks as well as various nationwide shows within the UK.

Kelly teaches at SLP College in Leeds, CentrePointe in Manchester and Northern Ballet in Manchester as well as at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing. Kelly specialises in street, commercial and contemporary dance but also guest teaches other forms in Claire's absence. The photographs shown here are from Kelly's senior and junior street classes performing in 'Raise the Barre'.

Kelly also offers Sports Therapy classes in Studio 3 in association with her own company, Tor Sports Therapy.


Gloria Dobinson

Gloria Dobinson

Gloria agreed to help her daughter for the first two weeks when she began her school... and is still managing 'front of house' many years later!

Sarah Rathbone and Mary Derrick

Sarah Rathbone, Mary Derrick

Sarah and Mary assist Gloria with 'front of house'. One of the team will be in reception when you arrive, to help with class bookings and payments, uniform and costume queries, and answer any other questions you may have.


We are very proud of all of our pupils, their hard work, and their continuing successes in performances, auditions and examination results. Our pupils are led by Head Boy Jay Derrick and Head Girl Mickie Carline.

Head Girl Mickie Carline
Head Girl Mickie Carline

Mickie is currently studying Intermediate Ballet, Intermediate Tap and Intermediate Gymnastic Dance. Mickie also assists the Intermediate Foundation Conteporary students in their own pieces of group choreography as a dancer for their exams.

Mickie has been dancing as long as she can remember and can't imagine not dancing. She says "It's an escape - you can't think about anything else so you forget any worries and you feel fantastic after!"

Head Boy Jay Derrick
Head Boy Jay Derrick

Jay is currently studying Intermediate Foundation Ballet and Grade Five Contemporary. In 'Fascinating Rhythm, Jay danced in Kelly's street dance 'Wavy!' and starred as the unfortunate Knave of Hearts in the 'Fragments of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'.

Jay says he likes to dance because there is always something new so you never get bored - and it is just so much fun!

You will meet Jay and Mickie if you come to the Class Examination and Preliminary classes on a Saturday morning. They will both be there to help even the youngest children learn the steps, find the right foot positions and enjoy their dancing.


We are extremely proud of our students who have gone on to study at vocational dance schools - as well as those who have gone on to study academic subjects such as languages, sciences, history, economics and medicine! Many continue to attend our classes part time or when they are at home for the holidays. We are always delighted to see them, and wish them all the best of luck in their future careers.

Some of our current vocational dance students are mentioned below - see the Graduates page below to catch up with those who have now completed their training.

Associate Students

Pupils current and former have successfully auditioned for Associate places at:

Ballet classes for all ages and abilities

Poppy Cordingley-Lynn was accepted to train as a Royal Ballet School Junior Associate in Summer 2014, when she was only 8 years old. Poppy now takes weekly classes in Manchester to compliment her training with the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing. In 2017 Poppy was invited to attend the final round of auditions for the Royal Ballet School White Lodge. This is a huge achievement as only 30-40 children are invited to audition from the thousands who apply, and Poppy had not even applied.

Our most recent Associate appointment is for Katie Redfern, who is now an Associate at The Pointe, CentrePointe in Manchester. The Pointe is a Youth Dance Company focussing on Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance whist developing skills in choreography, improvisation and creative flair.

Full Time Students

Pupils current and former have successfully auditioned for full-time studentships at:

Katy Redfern in Fascinating Rhythm

Katy Redfern has been offered a foundation place for Contemporary Dance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, potentially leading to a BA(Hons) in Contemporary Dance. Huge congratulations to Katy, and we wish her every success.

Oscar Edwards was awarded a prized scholarship place at The Hammond School, and started full-time vocational training in Chester in September 2015, recently taking his RAD Intermediate Foundation ballet examination. Oscar had also been an Elmhurst Associate since 2012, attending hour-long Saturday classes in boys' ballet and boys' jazz.

Daisy Kerry was awarded a scholarship to the Moorland Ballet Elite in 2013, and dancing for at least 14 hours a week as well as studying for her GCSEs at the school in Clitheroe. The photographs on the right show Daisy and friend Josh when they joined us during their half-term in February 2014, and Daisy as she appears on the Moorland website. Daisy started dancing at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing from a very young age, before studying full time at the Hammond School.

We are always delighted to see any of our students during the holidays, and look forward to seeing them on stage in the future.


Daisy tours with Disney's Beauty and the Beast - The Musical

Huge congratulations to Daisy Edwards who is back on stage with Disney's new Musical of Beauty and the Beast, touring the UK in 2022.

Beauty and the Beast Musical

Photograph from the Beauty and the Beast website, click for tour details and photos

Daisy in costume as Belle

Daisy backstage in costume as Belle - click to enlarge

Daisy covers for the lead role of Belle and also dances Swing which means she will cover many other roles in the production.

Daisy began her career at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing at the age of two, before studying full time at the Hammond School. In 2014, she won a prized Dance and Drama Award to study for the 3 year diploma in Professional Dance at the the acclaimed Urdang Academy in London.

Claire was immensely proud to see her graduation performance in 2017, to see her on television when she danced for The Voice Kids Final, and then to see her singing and dancing with the UK tour of FAME! in 2018 and 2019. Daisy danced all parts as on-stage swing, first cover for Lamb Chops and Iris, and vice Dance Captain.

After a month in the West End, FAME! toured the UK, visiting our very own Buxton Opera House in November 2019, when we were absolutely delighted that Daisy managed to fit in some superb FAME! masterclasses at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing!

Fame UK Tour

(Photograph from Fame UK Tour website)

It has been fantastic to see Daisy on stage in Fame! and we can't wait to see Beauty and the Beast later this year.

Emily stars with Celebrity Cruises

Emily Rathbone has already had a fantastic dance career with five star cruise company Celebrity Cruises, dancing around the world many times.

Celebrity Eclipse

(Photograph from Celebrity Cruises website, click on the image to set sail...)

Emily graduated in Summer 2013 from Northern Ballet School in Manchester, to take up her dream job dancing her way around the world. The dancers perform Irish tap, jazz, latin and contemporary ballet as well as aerial routines, with several costume changes. The give a show every day or every other day, for a crowd of 1300 in a 3 storey auditorium, often to a standing ovation. The dancers also help to host many of the parties on board, with Emily teaching ballroom and conducts backstage tours for children. Emily had her own cabin, full of the fabulous frocks and sparkly costumes she needed for life on board.

For the first year Emily worked on the Celebrity Silhouette, sailing the Adriatic and Mediterranean, then crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, and spending Christmas Day on St. Kitts. In 2014 she joined the Celebrity Eclipse, sailing to the Caribbean, then back to European waters to cruise the Norwegian Fjords, and remaining with the ship until the end of May. For 2015-16 she stayed with the Celebrity Eclipse, but dancing a completely new programme, which Emily helped to set up, spending 3 months in Miami learning the new choreography before the ship set sail. In 2017 she added aerial dance to her repertoire and cruised to Australia for the first time. Her aerial work achieved speciality dance act status, and she completed her sixth consecutive contract from 2018-19.

Emily has had the most amazing time - and still can't believe her luck! - but she is now ready for new challenges. You may see her at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing assisting with the shows and exams, and teaching occasional masterclasses.

The pictures below are from Emily's gorgeous modelling portfolio.

Maddie Joins Company Chameleon

Maddie Shimwell was spotted modelling for London Fashion Week 2018 as well as working as a full-time dancer with Company Chameleon. Based in Manchester, the company create very physical work and often physical theatre, which they perform across the UK and worldwide.

Maddie graduated with Trinity National Diploma in Professional Dance in 2014 before joining Chrysalis London, a contemporary dance company established in 2014'to capture the energy, excitement and raw hunger of brand new talent' and bring it to theatres, fashion shows and events.

Maddie studied with the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing from a very young age, and continued to visit us in breaks from her studies at Tring Park in Hertfordshire.

We are delighted to be able to showcase Maddie's amazing portfolio below.

Daisy sets sail on the Costa Magica

Daisy Rathbone graduated in 2014 from Northern Ballet School. Daisy initially followed in her sister's graceful footsteps by taking to the seas, although her first year was spent with rival company Costa Cruises. Daisy joined the Costa Magica in October 2014, sailing until the end of April.

Costa Magica

(Photograph from Costa Cruises website, click on the image to set sail...)

Daisy sailed around the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean, with several transatlantic passages on the Costa Magica. Daisy said she had a brilliant year, but that it would have been easier to talk to the passengers on an English-speaking (rather than Italian) ship!

We are delighted that when she had seen the world, Daisy returned to us to complete her teacher training, and is now a fully qualified dance teacher with the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing.

The school runs for three terms per year to tie in with the academic school holidays.

Autumn Term 2021
Monday 6 September - Sunday 5 December
Half term holiday Monday 25 October - Sunday 31 October

Spring Term 2022
Monday 10 January - Sunday 10 April
Half term holiday Sunday 20 February - Sunday 27 February

Summer Term 2022
Monday 25 April - Sunday 24 July
Half term holiday Monday 30 May - Sunday 5 June


We are based at Peak Shopping Village, Chatsworth Road, Rowsley, DE4 2JE. The centre is just off the A6 at Rowsley, midway between Matlock and Bakewell, at the junction with the B6012 for Chatsworth and Baslow. Peak Village is signposted from the A6 and has plenty of free parking.

If you are waiting while your dancer is in a class, Peak Village has a lovely restaurant / coffee shop on site and many interesting shops to browse - locally made furniture, interesting gifts and homewares as well as clothes, shoes, and outdoor equipment. We also have a hairdressing salon on site - Wendy Hurley Hairdressing is based upstairs in the same building as the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing. Call 01629 733449 if you would like to book a hair appointment to fit around your class times.

The dance centre is spread over two floors, with a fabulous large mirrored main studio and two smaller studios upstairs. There are toilets, changing rooms and a waiting area by reception.

Click on the pictures to see more - or call in / contact us if you would like to try one of our classes.

Claire Dobinson School of Dancing, Peak Shopping Village, Chatsworth Road, Rowsley, Derbyshire, DE4 2JE

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Phone: 07701 308 039

Email: [email protected]