How a Blackpool teenager who comes from a family of dancers has earned herself a place at a top dance college

A Blackpool student, who is the third generation of dancers in her family, has been awarded a place at a prestigious dance college.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 11:45 am
Sinead Norbury

Sinead Norbury, who is in her final year at Blackpool Sixth Form, has been accepted at The Centre Performing Arts College in Maidstone and will start in September.

The 17-year-old has been dancing since the age of two, as a member of Whittaker Dance and Drama Centre, which was launched by her late grandmother, Beryl Whittaker in 1952.

Sinead’s mum, Sheila, has been running the dance school for the past 14 years, following Beryl’s death in 2006.

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Sinead Norbury with her mum Sheila

Sinead said: “I got accepted at three colleges: Performer’s, Bird and The Centre PAC. For each one, I had to do an audition, which involved a ballet and modern jazz class, and I had to sing a song and do a drama piece.

“I am so pleased I got accepted. I will be doing a three-year course, training in ballet and tap and I will also get a teaching qualification.

“I want to perform on cruise ships and once I have done all I want performing, I can teach and maybe run a dance school.

“I have been offered at 50 per cent bursary, which really does help us out with the fees.

“I love dancing and the way it makes me feel. I enjoy performing at shows. I have mainly done college shows, but I did perform on The Hots at Blackpool Winter Gardens.”

Sinead has also been an associate of Tap Attack for the past seven years.

She auditions for this each year and travels to Halifax once a month where she has tap classes with members and choreographers of the England tap team.

Sheila, who has also been dancing since the age of two and has been teaching at Whittaker Dance and Drama Centre for more than 40 years, said: “I am extremely proud and her grandmother would have been too. My dad, who used to teach at the dance school, is also really pleased for her.

“Sinead has always enjoyed dancing, but we have made sure she has done other things outside of it.

“We are so pleased she will also get a teaching qualification as this opens up other opportunities.”

Sinead and other students at Whittaker Dance will be performing The World At Your Feet at Blackpool Grand Theatre on February 28, 29 and March 1.

Ticket prices are £15.50 to £17.50. For over 65s and under 18s they are £12.50. Visit

Sheila added: “This will be Sinead’s last show before she goes to college in September.”