In 1981, Melanie Silverlock, Lianne Smees, Linda Young and Alison Gaterell took part in a tap routine for Record Breakers. Thirty-nine years later, the quartet are now taking part in the National Tapathon on Sunday 24th May, along with some of their pupils from Ker-Mel school of dancing.
“I have such fantastic memories of being on Record Breakers with Roy Castle,” recalls Melanie.
“It was a freezing cold day in 1981 and schools around the country were taking part. Each school was a different letter and our school, The Sunshine Kiddies, were the second R in the word: record. A helicopter filmed us all from above. It took all day but it was great and we still talk about it now! So, when we saw the National Tapathon advertised, we signed up immediately.
Lianne, Linda, Alison and myself have all danced together since a very young age and now we teach at Ker-Mel School of Dancing in Gosport, Hampshire, which was founded by my mum in 1978. We teach ballet, tap, modern and jazz to 3 to 18-year-olds and have some adult classes too. We also have some former pupils who are now professional dancers come back and teach contemporary and commercial dance.
There’s going to be 26 of us taking part in the tapathon. It has given the children something to focus on in these difficult times. We have been running online classes since we went into lockdown but, as much as they are loving this, the tapathon gives us all something else to do together as a school and keep them smiling.
It’s great that the children will receive a medal too. It will be a lovely, positive keepsake for us all in what have been very strange times.
On a personal level, I know people who have died of lung cancer so the fact that we can raise money to help others by doing something we all love seemed like a great idea.
We’re all enjoying learning the routine. It’s nice that someone else has put it together, rather than us doing it, and we’re looking forward to performing it on the big day.
We just want to do what we love and that’s dance, even if it is in the new virtual world we’re living in! Being able to raise money makes it even better.”
To donate to Ker Mel School of Dancing tapathon challenge, click here.