A DANCE teacher celebrating 65 years of service with her school's annual performance at Theatr Clwyd says she has no intention of retiring.

Shirley Snowden, 81, from Hawarden has been giving dance lessons since she was 16.

She and her dance school will take to the stage in July in their annual 'Dancerama' production on July 6 and 7.

Miss Snowden opened The Shirley School of Dancing in a wartime air raid shelter in June 1953 when she was 16 after qualifying to be a dance teacher from Kendrick's Dance Academy in Chester. Initially there were a dozen students as part of her academy.

But this year, the school celebrates its 65th anniversary with Miss Snowden not only still its principal but also a very active teacher and performer.

The school now numbers more than 150 students, with thousands having passed through it over last 65 years.

And more than 50 students have since become professional dancers, the most successful of these being one of her three sons, Phil Snowden, who has appeared in 17 West End musicals including several iconic productions such as Miss Saigon, Billy Elliot and Les Miserables.

Miss Snowden still teaches four days a week at Hawarden Institute, tutoring in a wade array of styles including ballet, tap and freestyle.

She has no intentions of retiring, and intends to continue to enhance the lives of many more people for as long as her health will allow.

She said: ''When I started the Shirley School of Dancing, during Coronation Year, little did I know that it would still be going from strength to strength 65 years later.

This year’s Dancerama is our 31st annual show at Theatr Clwyd.

''I have always been very proud of the way in which the students, teachers, production staff and parents work so well to ensure the success of the show.

"I am extremely privileged to be able to share the stage with so many talented young people, whose prime aim is to keep the audience happy.''

Lord Barry Jones, former MP for Alyn and Deeside, recounts his memories of Miss Snowden's dance teaching.

He said: ''My association with the Shirley School is at least 50 years standing.

"In the late 1970s Mrs Hill's Dancing School (Shirley's mother) held Saturday morning classes in the then Transport Hall in Shotton.

"Miss Shirley was already a popular principal dance instructor with her considerable qualifications.

''It was well attended. I should know since one held a Member of Parliament's surgery in the two side rooms. My lengthy surgeries, sometimes three hours long, and far in excess of, say, 20 worried citizens, were conducted during rhythmic music.

''It was a wooden hall with wooden floorboards. I would hear Miss Shirley's raised voice and Mrs Hill's repeated instructions. The hall would shake and reverberate.

''There was a good number of young girls of various ages. I and my helpers came to enjoy the various tapes of popular rhythmic tunes that were amplified next door. When Miss Shirley taught Tap, we wondered at the athleticism of her pupils.

''The school had a spectacularly successful night as Kelsterton College in Connah's Quay (now Coleg Cambria) in the old college hall.

"It was packed out and Miss Shirley got the best of out of the youngsters that night.

"Your's truly had the honour of saying a few words from the stage in the '80s. I shall repeat some of them now. "We done Miss Shirley."

Tickets for Dancerama can be bought from Theatr Clwyd's website and are priced at £9 for adults and £8.50 for concessions, which includes senior citizens and under 16s.