Media Release: Dance School of Scotland pupils triumph in 30th anniversary year

Curtain set to rise on two new shows by award-winning pupils in anniversary year

THE Dance School of Scotland (DSS) is celebrating a string of successes in its 30th anniversary year and preparing to raise the curtain on two new shows including Cameron Mackintosh musical comedy ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ at the Citizens Theatre and a dance show featuring international ballet stars at the Royal Concert Hall.

The first to open is the dance show which provides ballet-lovers a chance to see dance stars of the future perform alongside former Dance School pupils now working with international ballet companies.

The show opens on Saturday June 14 and there is a second performance on Sunday June 15.

The line-up of guest performers who are former Dance School pupils includes Vienna State Ballet’s Greig Matthews and Scottish Ballet’s Kara McLaughlin and Daniel Davidson plus several more surprise guests.

The programme will feature ‘The Four Seasons’ – dance segments created by four different choreographers in contrasting styles of dance.

Theatre-lovers can see also the award-winning Dance School students in action next week as the Musical Theatre Course presents the Scottish premiere of the new version of musical comedy ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ at the Citizens Theatre June 18-21.

Based on the film ‘A Private Function’ and adapted from the screenplay by Alan Bennett, it is set in the post-war rationing era in Yorkshire in 1947.

It features catchy songs and hilarious scenes including a chiropodist, his social-climbing wife and ‘Betty’ an adorable pig which causes havoc as the townsfolk prepare for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth.

The Dance School, which is incorporated within Knightswood Secondary in Glasgow, was founded in 1984 as a national centre of excellence. It was described by the late Donald Dewar (former Shadow Scottish Secretary), as “the shining jewel in the crown of Scottish education”.

As well as training the country’s most gifted dancers, the school is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its highly-successful Musical Theatre course.

Both programmes have achieved global recognition with former pupils performing with ballet companies and in musicals around the world, including former pupil, Gayle Rankin, currently appearing in ‘Cabaret’ on Broadway with Scottish star, Alan Cumming.

Admission to the school is via audition and students come from throughout Scotland, with many living in residential accommodation.

Construction work has just begun to create a new purpose-built residence in the school grounds after a campaign to secure funding was supported by Glasgow City Council in a landmark move which secured its national status.

Kay Dingwall, head teacher of Knightswood Secondary, said: “The vision shown 30 years ago to maximise the potential of Scotland’s young dancers, and later musical theatre talents, by bringing them together to learn from inspirational professionals, has been more than justified.

“For a small country to be recognised for producing world-class artistic talent from this school is quite wonderful.

“The hard work demonstrated daily by our young people and staff leaves no-one in any doubt about how important it was to secure the national status of the Dance School at Knightswood for future generations.”

Recent successes include a double victory for sixth-year pupils, Mari McGinlay and Sam Willison, who won top places in the prestigious Young Scottish Musical Theatre Performer (SYMTP) of the Year competition.

Overall winner 18 year-old Mari McGinlay from Falkirk, and runner-up 18 year-old Sam Willison from Erskine, beat off stiff competition from Scots-born performers aged 18-20 studying at colleges across the UK including Bristol Old Vic, GAMTA, Glasgow Kelvin College, PPA Guildford, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

The Dance School, whose head teacher Kay Dingwall was named Scottish Head Teacher of the Year in 2013, has also just established a new record in the highly-regarded ATCL (Associate of Trinity College London) Diploma in Musical Theatre, with every one of its final year students achieving a ‘Distinction.’


Notes to editor: 

Media Contact: Valerie Darroch of VMD Media, on behalf of Parent Council, Knightswood Secondary incorporating Dance School of Scotland

M: 07970 737708 E:

We would be pleased to arrange a photoshoot or interviews with pupils and staff from the Dance School of Scotland who are currently in rehearsal at the Citizens Theatre – they took special puppeteer classes in order to operate ‘Betty’, a specially-commissioned mechanical pig puppet which was purchased with help of a grant from the Parent Council of Knightswood Secondary.

To order tickets for Dance School of Scotland Productions:

Tickets for ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ available from the Citizens’ box office on 0141 429 0022.

To book online visit

Tickets for Dance School of Scotland 30th Anniversary Showcase available from the Royal Concert Hall box office on 0141 353 8000

To book online visit


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Contact: Valerie Darroch