Margaret Jaffé was born in Skipton in 1923 and attended Skipton Girls High School. Margaret knew she wanted to be a dance teacher from the age of four and later travelled weekly to Manchester as a young student to study with Mary Archbutt. Margaret also studied piano and composition at the Royal Manchester College of Music, (now the Royal Northern College of Music) and regularly played the piano for dance classes at the same time as teaching.
Margaret formed her first student theatre group during the Second World War, while working for Northern Command Voluntary Entertainments Services. Her brief was to provide song and dance shows for the troops who were of differing nationalities and thus her lifelong interest in folk dance was born.
She established the Dixon-Phillip Stage School in Grassington, Yorkshire in 1948 which led to the Skipton and Ilkley-based Northern Dance Centre. Here she helped to establish the Northern Lights theatre group, who has represented England on six occasions at the biennial World Folk Dance Festival gaining the silver medal in 2005.
In 2007 Margaret retired from teaching but her school continues. Many of her pupils have now become professional dancers, such as David Gayle MBE, founder of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars and formerly soloist with The Royal Ballet, Angela Robinson who partnered Wayne Sleep in Dash and The Hot Shoe Show and Hannah Coates who is now a soloist with the Hamburg Ballet in Germany.
Margaret Jaffé is a Fellow of the ISTD, a former examiner and member of the National Dance Faculty Committee, receiving the Imperial Award in 1999. Her son, Mr Phillip, speaks fondly of her achievements, saying “she was a unique and wonderful teacher, always instilling in her students a great love and enjoyment of dance. Having taught several generations of pupils from countless local families in the Craven area, she has through her school, influenced the artistic life of this part of Yorkshire and is proud that it flourishes today”.
Margaret Jaffé talks about life in Skipton during World War Two.
Margaret Jaffé talks about the German Spy.
Margaret Jaffé talks about Air Raids.
Margaret Jaffé talks about the Outbreak of War.