When Anne Harris told her dance students she wouldn’t be returning to teaching, her lounge became full of cards and flowers.
Mrs Harris has been teaching dance for the past 45 years but is retiring to take some time out for herself.
Anne Harris School of Dance currently has 60 students, learning either ballet, jazz and contemporary dance.
Mrs Harris taught in Ashburton and Ranfurly, before settling in Oamaru.
Dancing since she was four, Mrs Harris said it is the love of the art that has kept her in the teaching role for so long.
Mrs Harris’ past student Victoria Cooper is moving to Oamaru from Auckland at the end of the year, to take over the company.
”I am really confident that Victoria will be a terrific teacher,” she said.
Miss Cooper grew up in Oamaru and was a student at Anne Harris School of Dance from the age of four, until she was 18.
Miss Cooper has been in Auckland for the past two years but is excited about her new venture in Oamaru, especially that most of her family still lives in town.
She has taught dance and modelling in the past and is currently a primary school teacher.
Miss Cooper said meeting the students over the term holiday was the perfect opportunity to break the ice and understand what level of dance they are at.
She said taking over from Mrs Harris was both special and emotional.
”She taught me everything,” she said.
”I was with her two to three times a week.
”That’s most of the time that you’re not at school.”
Miss Cooper hopes to start some adult classes next year and will be teaching hip hop, jazz, classical ballet and contemporary dance.