First Step Ballet McGregor, South Africa, Mary Silver

The children of McGregor take their First Step to making their dreams a reality under the wing of their dance teacher Mary Corpe Silver.

Mary was born in the UK. She started performing at the age of 3 and made her first professional debut at the age of 7 in “Hello Dolly” at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. She performed in many musicals and even an opera at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London at the age of 13. She attended the prestigious Arts Educational school for Dance and Drama. Mary studied Ballet, Tap, Modern, Musical Theatre, Drama and Singing. She knew from a very early age that all she ever wanted to do was dance and is as passionate and enthusiastic today about dance as she was 57 years ago when she put on her first pair of ballet shoes.

Mary completed her training in 1975 and landed her first job  {Pans People} in a regular television series called Top of the Pops. She went on to perform in many films and for television over 14 years. She danced for the BBC and ITV companies in many shows with hundreds of celebrities. She starting dancing for Nigel Lythgoe {So you think you can Dance USA} in 1976 as one of The Young Generation Dancers. They traveled to Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland for television shows overseas. In 1981 Mary danced for her Majesty the Queen in The Royal Variety Show at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and again in 1983 for Princess Margaret for the Children’s Royal Variety Show at the London Palladium.  She has 40 years of experience in teaching children dance and drama and a passion to empower the youth and to help them reach their dreams.

For the past 7 years Mary has taught all over the Langeberg most notably working as a volunteer ballet/dance teacher. She founded The Next Step Dance Company {now known as The Next Step Dance Academy} in 2012 and First Step Ballet, McGregor in 2014. Soon after arriving in McGregor, she realised that there was a need for after-school and holiday activities. So the ballet classes began. In the last few years the children have also been learning Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Singing, African dance, Life Skills, Poetry, Drama and Literature. They have been awarded many medals and cups for their performances and have been chosen to dance four times now at the Baxter Fringe Festival. Some of the Senior students have also taken their first Ballet exam.

First Step Ballet, McGregor has changed these children’s lives. Their self-confidence and self-esteem has soared and there is also a noticeable change in their behaviour at school and in their grades. First Step Ballet teaches them discipline, determination, concentration, time keeping, kindness to one and other and the drive to succeed in whatever they decide to do in the future.

Mary hopes that this project can go on for many years to come.