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YOU'RE NEVER TU TU OLD; Veteran dance teacher still showing pupils how to twirl.

Byline: By ALASTAIR CRAIG

THIS graceful grandma shows you're never too old to twirl.

Pirouetting Pauline Dodds is still dancing and teaching ballet at the age of 80.

The grandmother-of-nine, of Forest Hall, Newcastle, is a teacher at The Gillian Quinn School of Dance in Whitley Bay.

And she cannot help but join in the fun with her little understudies.

Her 70-year love affair with ballet will today be recognised with a rare President's Award for dedication from London's Royal Academy of Dance.

Pauline, who has three children with husband David, said: "Ballet is one of the loves of my life and I want to keep doing it for as long as I can.

"I'm the sort of person who believes you shouldn't give up what you're passionate about because of your age.

"You never stop learning in life. It's wonderful to still be involved in ballet and to be able to spot young talent.

"I started ballet at the age of eight and it's still a huge part of my life."

Pauline is now training a new generation of Darcey Bussells in the North East.

And nothing would make her happier than to see a star pupil on the London stage in the future.

"Ballet makes me feel great," she says.

"It takes dedication, but I love being involved with young dancers - and I'm not ready to stop just yet."

In the 1940s, the talented teenager trained at Birmingham's respected Kathleen Danetree School of Dance, and the Madame Judith Espinosa School of Dance in London.

She later won a coveted five-year scholarship after a whirlwind audition at the world-famous Royal Academy, and toured the UK for seven years with the ballet classics.

In 1968, she took over a dance school in Manor House Road, in Jesmond, Newcastle, and later became a ballet examiner for the Royal Academy, travelling the world to judge the brightest talent.

Pauline hung up her leotard in 2002, but missed the magic and joined the Gillian Quinn School as a teacher, covering holidays and absences.

She has not been tempted to give it up since.

She said: "You never know what's going to happen, but as long as I'm healthy I'd like to think I'll still be able to dance."

Pauline was receiving her Royal Academy President's Award at The Sage Academy of Performing Arts, in Byker, Newcastle, today.

CAPTION(S):

GRACEFUL: Pauline's ballet pupils Annie Whiting, left, and Phillipa Jobson learn from the best; KEPT ON HER TOES: 80-year-old Pauline Dodds shows Phillipa Jobson, nine, from North Shields, how it's done at her class in Whitley Bay PICTURE: ANDY COMMINS www.icNewcastle.co.uk/buyaphoto ref: 01186969
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 2, 2007
Words:443
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