Dance studio celebrates as it waltzes into its fifth decade

Forty years after it first opened its doors, Drapers Dance Studio is preparing to celebrate four incredible decades in the city.

The Sheffield ballroom dancing studio has come a long way since its first ever class back in 1973 - when just one student showed up - and now teaches hundreds of pupils a week, at its base in Beighton.

And to celebrate its historic birthday, owners Scott and Hayley Draper are hosting a Ruby Tea Dance, when they hope to get as many former pupils as possible back under one roof.

“It would be really lovely to see lots of old familiar faces,” said Hayley.

“We’re hoping to relive some old memories, let former students reminisce in their old studio, chat with old friends and maybe even join in a dance or two.”

Hayley and Scott, both former professional dancers, bought the studio from Scotts parents Raymond and Carol, when they retired ten years ago.

Raymond Draper came from a proud family line of Sheffield miners when he made the bold decision to pursue a career in dancing, and started teaching dance out of a rented hall in Killamarsh.

When the old Miners Welfare in Beighton came up for sale in the seventies, he and Carol bought it, renovated it and held their first dance class there in 1973 - for just one student. They persevered and, over the next 30 years, built up to more than 30 classes a week.

His son Scott, a dancer himself who went on to become European Ballroom and World Showdance Professional Finalist, moved back to Sheffield from London in 2004 to take over the business.

Hayled added: “We wanted a true fresh start for the second generation of Drapers, so we gave the place a massive refurb, stripping every wall back to bare brick and plaster, putting in new lighting, new dance floors and a new bar.”

“We now teach nearly 50 classes a week and we’re already training up our son Max up to take over the reigns of the family business - he’s only six,” she laughed.