Letter: Whitby talent is excellent

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I write primarily to congratulate Miss Maria Mastrolonardo following the recent dancing success achieved as per your article in the Whitby Gazette.

However, I was disappointed that the first five years of classical ballet training given by myself was not mentioned.

I remember well the top marks Maria achieved in all the dance examinations taken as a member of my dance academy.

I would also like to agree with your reporter that Maria is a shining example of how talent nurtured by local tuition does not matter where you start, whether in a village hall or dance studio.

Many other local pupils including Joanne Froggatt, Sam Barnett, Liam Hart and Lucy Fenwick have achieved stardom all being former members of the The Benson Stage Academy that has been running since 1953.

I must also add I am very proud of the fact that the work I started over 60 years ago has recently been brought to fruition by local dance teachers Rosie Abel and Julia Trillo, plus former pupils from my Scarborough Academy that included Suzy Corrigan and her sister, Charlie Corrigan, the latter now a choreographer for a cruise line company.

There are many more talented young local students that will emerge in the very near future and I am delighted to have been able to play my part in devoting my life’s work to dance and associated arts in Whitby.

Barbara Benson MBE,

Stakesby Manor,