FROM SOUTH AFRICA TO LEGAN AND MULLINGAR
Westmeath Examiner, 3 Sept 1994
The Berlin Deutsche Opera’s solo dancer and choreographer Marguerite Donlan, from Longford, received her initial ballet training from South African, Anica Louw, who runs a ballet school at Legan, in Co Longford.
Anica who came to Ireland sixteen years ago when she married Philip Dawson from Legan, set up her school ‘Shawbrook’ back then, and today, at Legan, she has a studio and theatre where ballet classes and performances are held.
As well as atttracting local students, Anica has dancers coming from abroad for the annual Summer School, which is booked up to a year in advance.
In her native country, Anica began dancing at the age of three, and carried on until she was seventeen, when she went on to study theatre in Pretoria. She then taught Africans and drama and in South Afrucan secondary school, and when she met Irishman Philip Dawson who was travelling in Africa, the couple married and came back to Philip’s family farm at Legan.
Initially, Anica held classes in places such as Longford Rugby Club and Legan School, but she and Philip then decided to convert a barn into theatre studio, and to provide living accomadation for students.
Because of the interest among Westmeath dancers howeve, Anica has now decided to launch classes in Mullingar, and she will be accepting enrolements on . .. Anic a believes that even if a student doesn’t go on to the heights of success that Marguerite Donlon has attained, there are still immense benefits to be gained from studying ballet.
‘I will always feel that young girls should carry themselves well and to have grace and poise and I feel that ballet is a very good discipline,’ she says. She will take students as yong as four years old, and . .