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 dance studio in Darley Dale near Matlock, we hold classes in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Gymnastic Dance, Freestyle, Street, Musical Theatre and Singing, with over 50 lessons per week.


NATD Scholarships Grand Final - October 2023

Best of luck to all our fabulous finalists in the NATD SCHOLARSHIPS GRAND FINAL in Birmingham on 1st October!!! Claire is extremely proud of you all. Have fun!

Summer School - July/August 2023

Summer term ends on 24 July, but we are hosting a fabulous week of Summer School from 31st July to 4th August.

Monday 31 JulyJunior Day of Dance
9:30am - 3:00pm Day of Dance for children aged 4-11 years. Classes to include Ballet, Modern, Tap, Contemporary and much more! £30.
Tuesday 1 AugustJunior Day of Dance
9:30am - 3:00pm Day of Dance for children aged 4-11 years. Classes to include Musical Theatre, Gymnastic Dance, Freestyle, Street and much more! £30.
Wednesday 2 August Aerial Workshops with Carnival Chaos Circus School
10:00am - 12:00pm Aerial Workshop for children age 4-8 years. £25.
12:00am - 2:00pm Aerial Workshop for children and adults, 9 years and upwards. £25.
Thursday 3 August Swan Lake Ballet Masterclass and Adult Classes
9:30am - 12:30pm Class with Claire then repertoire with Josh Web, professional ballet dancer and new principal dancer with English Youth Ballet! Suitable for dancers age 7 years and upwards. £20.
7:00pm - 7:30pm Adult Tap Summer Special. £5.
7:30pm - 8:00pm Adult Ballet Summer Special. £5.
8:00pm - 8:30pm Adult Modern Summer Special. £5.
Friday 4 AugustSenior Dance Day
9:30am - 3:00pm Day of Dance for students aged 11 years and upwards. A full day of dancing in a variety of styles! £30.

Call in or contact us if you would like to join any of these classes. Classes are open to all, not just current students with the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing, but spaces are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Bakewell International Day of Dance - 24 June 2023

We are delighted to be taking part in the hugely successful Bakewell International Day of Dance on Saturday 24 June.

Bakewell Internation Day of Dance is a stunning celebration of world music and dance to start of Bakewell Carnival Week. This year there are over 50 performances at different locations around the town, plus the Farmers Market and a display of local well dressings. Entry is absolutely free.

Dancers from the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing will be performing between 3pm and 3:30pm in the Riverside Gardens, - come and support us and enjoy a fabulous day of dancing, colour and fun!

NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarship Success - June 2023

Claire is extremely proud of all the dancers who competed in the Midland Heats of the NATD Scholarships in Derby on 4th June. They were all amazing and thanks to their hard work and success, the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing will be competing in the Grand Finals!

NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarships 2023 - Regional Heats 4th June NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarships 2023 - Regional Heats 4th June NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarships 2023 - Regional Heats 4th June NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarships 2023 - Regional Heats 4th June NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarships 2023 - Regional Heats 4th June NATD Midland Theatrical Scholarships 2023 - Regional Heats 4th June

Huge congratulations to Chloe, Eleanor, Briannna, Soraya, Alice and Thia-Louise who are through to the finals in Senior Ballet, Modern and Contemporary; Intermediate Tap; Junior Ballet and Contemporary. Eleanor will compete in two senior categories and Chloe in three - and Chloe was the overall Winner of the Midland Area in Senior Ballet! We wish them all the very best of luck for the finals.

Tansley Food and Drink (and Dance!) Festival - May 2023

Dancers from the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing performed a short dance display at the Tansley Food and Drink Festival on Saturday 13 May.

Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival Tansley Food and Drink Festival

Tansley Food and Drink Festival was a fabulous sunny day of food, drinks and family fun in the Peak District. Where else could you see the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing, a friendly dinosaur, a small steam engine, a spitfire, stunt cyclists, owls and reptiles, and a Phil Collins tribute act - while nibbling international street food?

Thank you very much to our fantastic dancers and all who came and supported us, we hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.

Click on any of the links below to see what was happening at the Claire Dobinson School of Dancing in previous terms.
2023 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.



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 recent academic years, 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 examinations awarded at Grades 6/7/8 and Intermediate levels in all styles of dance qualify for points according to the UCAS points tariff used by many universities and colleges, as shown in the table below.

NATD - UCAS Points

Dancers aged 14 years or over can request that UCAS points awarded for dancing exams be added to their academic learning record by the NATD.

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 Brianna, Ben, Nina, Jay, Phoebe, Chloe and Estelle who were chosen from hundreds of talented young dancers to dance in performances at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent, 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. 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 has been brilliant on stage in Disney's 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 covered for the lead role of Belle and also danced Swing which means she covered 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 both Fame! and Beauty and the Beast, and we can't wait to see her next production.

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.

Summer Term 2023
Summer Term begins Monday 24 April
Half term holiday Sunday 29 May - Sunday 4 June
Summer Term ends Sunday 24 July

Autumn Term 2023
Summer Term begins Monday 11 September
Half term holiday Sunday 29 October - Sunday 5 November
Summer Term ends Sunday 10 December


After many happy years at Peak Village, we are now based in our own lovely studio at Wesleyan House, Dale Road North, Darley Dale, Derbyshire DE4 2HX. Wesleyan House is a beautiful historic building located midway between Matlock and Bakewell, on the A6 between Rowsley and Darley Dale.

With parking outside, toilets, changing room and a waiting area by reception, our lovely mirrored main studio is a fabulous atmospheric space for dancing, as you can see in the photographs.

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

Claire Dobinson School of Dancing, Wesleyan House, Dale Road North, Darley Dale, DE4 2HX

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Phone: 07701 308 039

Email: [email protected]