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History of the School


Teaching Staff



  Carly Watts

Golf Society


The founder of the Castle School of Dancing was Miss Gwen Gooding (Mrs Ridge) who opened her first studio in 1922 at St. Marychurch in Babbacombe, Torquay.  This was in the Town Hall on the ground floor where she taught Ballroom Dancing on Thursday evenings and Ballet & Tap on Saturday afternoons.  Miss Gooding always taught under her maiden name despite being married to Mr James Ridge.

Dancing at St Marychurch continued for 10 years until 1932 when the Torbay Hospital closed down to move into new larger buildings.  Adverts for lettings appeared in the local paper so Mr & Mrs Ridge rented one of the old large wards and continued their dancing there until 1938 when this building was sold.  At that time they were fortunate to buy No 1 Castle Road where they converted the ground floor into a studio with a Maple dance floor measuring 31ft by 19ft and so was born the Castle School of Dancing!

The school was allowed to stay open during the war years as it was considered good for morale and continued until 1956 when Mr & Mrs Ridge had the opportunity to purchase the house next door which had a large garden.  After purchasing the property they gained permission to create a large ballroom measuring 45ft by 29ft and to create an extension in the garden area to include a bar and larger cloakrooms.  Many happy years of dancing followed at the school with regular trips organised to locations with a dancing flavour.
The photograph above shows one such trip, taken in the late 1950's.

Sadly, Mr Ridge died in 1979, but Miss Gooding continued to run the school with the able assistance of Peggy and Harry Hill, who had worked with Miss Gooding for many years, and Pauline and Philip Green who joined later as teachers.

During 1997 two celebrations took place to mark both the 75th anniversary of the Castle School of Dancing and Miss Gooding's 90th birthday.  Celebrations included a show at the Babbacombe Theatre which was attended by the Mayoral Party and large dance at Barton Hall Chalet Hotel attended by 260 former pupils of the school.  The newspaper cutting can be read by clicking the image to the right.

Miss Gooding later died on the 11th September 1999 but the school continues to flourish under the guidance of Harry Hill, Pauline and Philip Green.  The recent renewed interest in dancing has served to strengthen the school and hopefully encourage other to take up this activity.


Dance Dates 2013/14

Beginners Class 1 & 2
7:00pm - 8:30pm

Hobby Class
8:00pm - 10:00pm

Advanced Class
8:00pm - 10:30pm

Medallist Class
To be announced

Intermediate Class
8:00pm - 10:30pm

Improvers Hobby Class
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Medallist Class
To be announced

Alternate Saturdays:
Practice Dance
8:00pm - 11:00pm

Private lessons daily by appointment

Dance Program

7th December
Christmas Dance and Draw 8:00 - 11:00

22nd December
Party Dance 8:00 - 11:00

27th December
Party Dance 8:00 - 11:00

31st January
Party Dance 8:00 - 1:00am



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