Sylvera Dance School was formed in 1946 by Mrs Vera Hammond and her sister Miss Sylvia Stead. Both had been trained by Miss Raine at the Barnehurst-based ‘Raindrops School of Dancing.’
At the end of the war Miss Raine emigrated to the USA and Vera and Sylvia started their own school in Crayford, calling it ‘Sylvera.’ The first show, which benefitted a local charity featured 80 pupils. It was held at the Crayford Town Hall in 1949.
The school quickly built up a good reputation and pupils appeared in many cabarets and local fund-raising events. Shows were held annually in aid of local charities. In 1964 a large group of senior pupils, including Vera’s daughters Julie and Yvonne qualified as teachers with the IDTA. Many girls went on to form their own schools, including Julie who in 1970 formed the Duet School of Dancing in Dartford. In the same year, Sylvia retired from teaching and Yvonne took over in Crayford.
In 1980 a new branch of the school was established in Longfield and subsequently moved to New Ash Green. In 1985 the Duet and Sylvera schools were amalgamated and all the classes were moved to Crayford. Due to the increase in pupils, the venue for the annual show was changed in 1984 to the Woodville Halls, Gravesend. And in 1996 on our 50th anniversary we held our first show at the Orchard Theatre. We now teach over 400 children and adults.