Del-Roy and Merinoff Dancing Studio, at 570 Granville Street, was run by Charlotte Del-Roy and Nicholas Merinoff, who were from Chicago via Los Angeles and Hollywood. They offered all types of classical, stage and screen dancing, including acrobatic, musical comedy, ballet, adagio, tap, Russian and toe, as well as something called “Body Beautifying.” Their ad in the Sun on September 21, 1929 declared: “Now is the time to start and develop your talent for the stage and screen, and fill your heart's desire.”
On September 12, 1931, a Sun newspaper item on the Del-Roy and Merinoff Institute of Classical, Stage and Motion Picture Dancing quotes Merinoff's description of the school's pedagogy: “Our Methods are different. We use modern methods which are far superior to those of previous years. Formerly it took years to develop a dancer, but now in this modern world we can produce the same type of dancer in a shorter time.”
In Del-Roy and Merinoff's 1932 “Vodvil Production,” Vancouver tap dancer Ted Cawker was part of a cast of “150 Clever Dancers.” He performed two numbers, Rhythmic Wheels and Off Beat.
Another name found among the dancers taking part is that of Audree Thomas, who went on to become Anna Istomina with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Thomas remembers taking classes as a young child at Del-Roy and Merinoff's large studio, where different groups would be working at the same time. In an hour-long class, the students would have 20 minutes of tap with Cawker, 20 minutes of acrobatics with Merinoff, and 20 minutes of ballet with Del-Roy. Despite all the activity going on in one room, Thomas found the classes well organized, and Del-Roy and Merinoff “a wonderful combination.”
When Merinoff left town suddenly, Del-Roy moved to a smaller studio at Georgia and Granville and taught only ballet. In 1934, that location was taken over by Miss Lorraine Wootton, who taught ballet, classical and character; Miss Nan Craig, ballroom, highland and physical culture; and Mr. J.W. Gawthorn, acrobatic and tap. It was now called the Vancouver Professional School of Stage Dancing. (next page)
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