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Save Semley

Posted on October 15, 2013

Semley Dance Studio, where many world Latin champions have trained, is to be sold. Director of Semley, Peter Maxwell, writes on Facebook: “After more than 30 years and having reached and past 60, I’ve decided that the time has come to sell the Semley Studio. 
The Semley is without a doubt the most iconic, legendary and loved studio of its kind ever in the world of dancing. During the day a place of serious study and in the evening the world’s best place to dance and practise.

“Every serious dancer of consequence on the world scene has benefited and contributed to its enormous success. 
Fundamental to this success have been two people: Lydia Ungaretti and Greg de Wet. Lydia’s passing away last year left an irreplaceable void for the studio and myself. She cannot and should not be replaced. She was unique and her contribution not only to the studio but to the dancers of the world will be remembered by the many she touched for many years to come.

“It is better now that the chance to create something new and wonderful goes to a new team looking to the future rather than just preserving the past. 
Greg is a legend. There is no one better in the world who understands the musical needs of top-class dancers. The result has made the practices at the Semley beyond compare [and] often, as many people say, a place to see better dancing than a competition!

“I also want to record my thanks to June McMurdo. It was June who asked Greg and Lydia to start a practice class all those years ago and what a great choice she made. June gave me my first dance lesson at the age of five and continued and continues to be my teacher and mentor. Working with her on a daily basis is one of the main things I will miss.

“My main hope is that the studio can be bought as a dance business and the legend continues. If anyone is seriously interested in purchasing the building, please let me know. Agents have also been instructed. 
I have some very interesting and challenging new projects I am looking forward to and know in my heart that, although sad in many ways, this is the right thing at this time. It’s a great chance for someone, or some younger group, to take the Semley forward to even new heights in line with the modern age.”

Semley will close on January 1, 2014. Contact Peter on Facebook here.

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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