Shawbrook Dance School brings Longford's young dancers together

Juliette Byrne, Ballymahon Vocational School


Juliette Byrne, Ballymahon Vocational School


Shawbrook Dance School brings Longford's young dancers together

Students of Shawbrook Dance from a previous year.

With the Aisling Festival kicking off this week, the Longford Leader is sharing the many articles that have been written by students of Ballymahon Vocational School, Árdscoil Phádraig and Mean Scoil Mhuire for the Aisling Festival Supplement in the current edition of the paper.

Shawbrook Dance is a ballet/dance school and a second home to many young and old dancers.

It is a beautifully designed dance centre based in Legan, Co Longford.

Shawbrook is owned by both Anica Louw and Philip Dawson.

It all began when ballerina, Anica, born and raise in South Africa, decided to go travelling and see the world at 23 years of age.

She had taught in lots of secondary schools in South Africa.

Even though she found this toiling, she kept going because she knew it was all worth it, seeing and helping young people develop their musical and creative skills through dance.

After travelling to countries such as Brazil, Peru and nearly all the United States of America, she needed a break from travelling.

She tracked down a man she found very charming, that had a farm in Legan called Shawbrook. They had met in the Karoo, Africa.

She got a job at Shawbrook and ended up falling in love with Philip, which led to marriage and a son named Kristo.

She started to teach ballet with the hope of improving the confidence and posture of the local girls.

She then registered with the Royal Academy of Dance and began entering her students into exams.

As time went on it became known as a professional dance school.

Philip renovated all of the barns into dance studios with bars for ballet and mirrors to see your turnout - and not to copy others, of course!

What was once the Dawson dairy farm is now Shawbrook dance school and forest.

After more than 30 years of teaching, in 2016, Anica sadly closed the Shawbrook School of Dance.

She continues to coach her students and holds an annual summer school, that is very successful and eagerly attended by girls all over Ireland.

Shawbrook will always be a huge asset to our community and has made a big impact on dancers' lives that they will remember forever.