Sharon Alback Dance Centre celebrated 70 years in August, 2022, with shows featuring dancers from two years old through to the school’s senior ranks. Dance may have changed in those 70 years, but the mission to develop young dancers into nice people remains.
In the lead-up to the Disco Inferno 70 Years shows, Sharon Alback shared precious memories with Moreton Daily.
Mrs Alback’s positive influence on young dancers has been lasting, with former students still stopping her when she’s out and about to say hello.
Others have phoned to ask if she remembers their dance routines, so they can teach it to their own students, and many have stayed on to nurture the next generation as teachers at Sharon Alback Dance Centre.
It’s a phenomenon not lost on Mrs Alback, 86, who described the school community as a family.
“Most of them remember concerts and remember getting ready for exams … memories that stay with them all their lives,” she said.
How it all began
Mrs Alback’s mother was a dance pianist who played for a ballet school in New South Wales when her daughter was young.
A move to Queensland and connection with dance teacher Sylvia Curry, who had moved north from Melbourne, set the young Sharon on a course that would shape her life.
Sylvia started Sylvena School of Dancing in 1952, with Sharon’s mother playing the piano.
“That was in Woody Point Memorial Hall. We had 12 students to start off with. I was 15, I think,” Mrs Alback said.
“In 1958, Sylvia Curry’s husband was transferred back to Melbourne, so she asked me if I would take over the school and I thought, ‘yes, I could do that for maybe a year or two and see how it goes’.”
She was 21 years old at the time.
“At that stage, I was married and I had a 12-month-old little girl and we were living in Ipswich. So, we just moved back to here,” she recalled.
“We decided we’d see how it went for a year or so and it just kept growing. At that stage, we had a school at Caboolture and Kallangur and Woodford and here (Redcliffe). The Caboolture school is still running with an ex-pupil of mine (now called KC Dance).”
In 1982, when Redcliffe Cultural Centre was built, the then Redcliffe City Council asked if she would like to run a dance studio at the facility.
Sharon Alback Dance Centre has been there ever since.
Generations of dancers have learnt their first steps in Mrs Alback’s studio including her children and grandchildren.
Her daughter Diahann Maude, who has taken over management of the school in recent years, says she has big dancing shoes to fill.
After a tough couple of years, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school has bounced back with Mrs Alback’s trademark resilience and Diahann’s mastery of online lessons.
There are no huge plans for the future, but the desire to develop young dancers into nice people remains.
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