Edmonds’ Barclay Shelton Dance Centre celebrating 80 years

George and Florence Barclay founded the Barclay School of Dance in 1929.

Edmonds’ Barclay Shelton Dance Centre is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year with the center’s Summer Revue Recitals June 18-20 at Edmonds Center for the Arts. The shows will include choreography from past recitals featuring students ages 3½ to adult and the resident performing troupe, Dance Theatrics (seniors and juniors). Each evening will feature a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, lyrical, musical theatre and hip hop. Each performance will also conclude with the Can-Can featuring original choreography from Florence Barclay, co-founder of the school in 1929.

Successful vaudeville performers George and Florence Barclay founded the Barclay School of Dance in Seattle in 1929 during the height of the Great Depression. They initially partnered with the Douglas School of Dance. The school became a huge success noted for its extravagant year-end recitals at the Orpheum Theatre, the Moore Theater and eventually the Seattle Center playhouse. The company’s Can-Can dancers were famous, performing at many civic events and welcoming the military’s return from both World War II and the Korean War at Pier 91.

Leanne Shelton joined the staff at Barclay in 1967. When George Barclay passed away, Florence Barclay moved the school to Edmonds, originally located where Rick Steves’ travel center is today. In 1978, Florence Barclay retired and Leanne Shelton became the studio’s director. In 1979, the school relocated to its current location at 413 Bell Street in Edmonds.

“We made the decision to preserve the Barclay name and to honor the traditions and timeless values that George and Florence passed on,” Shelton said. “Our teachers study each summer under some of the most popular choreographers from Los Angeles and from around the country so that the Centre can continue to offer the best classes to our students and the best value and quality performances to the parents, families and friends of each dancer.”

In 1986, Barclay Shelton started Dance Theatrics to offer more intense instruction and performance opportunities to the most serious and talented dancers. Dance Theatrics dancers have a foundation in all dance styles and receive intensive instruction to improve their skills in preparation for their own performances. Their next performance will be at the Edmonds Arts Festival Main Stage on Saturday, June 19 at 11:30 a.m. They will also be performing at the Centre’s 80th Annual Summer Review at ECA June 18, 19, and 20.

The Barclay Shelton Dance Centre also offers Summer Dance Camps, which begin the week of July 5:

  • Ages 5-6 and 7-8, Princess Camp July 5-8, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • 4th Grade and older, Dance Theatrics Intermediate, July 12-16, 10 a.m.- noon
  • 5th Grade and older, Dance Theatrics Intensive, July 12-16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Hip Hop Funk, July 12-16, Beginners 6-7 p.m., Int/Advanced 7-8 p.m.

For additional information about Barclay Shelton Dance Centre, to purchase tickets to the Summer Review, or to inquire about summer and fall class schedules, visit the Barclay Shelton website or call the school at 425-776-8111.

8 Replies to “Edmonds’ Barclay Shelton Dance Centre celebrating 80 years”

  1. This studio has positively touched the lives of thousands of dancers over the years! Congratulations to Leanne and her team. The community is lucky to have you!

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  2. Thanks for the bit of history provided in this article. I studied with Mr. and Mrs. Barclay (no first names were used in the ’40s and ’50s) and never knew some of these details. They taught us how behave professionally, be responsible for ourselves, and develop our memories and skills. Thanks for continuing the traditions. Sharon Victor, a Barclay girl, in 1955-59.

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  3. Hello, I’m happy to read that the Barclay Studio is still in operation. A minor correction is needed in the bio. I think George Barclay died Oct. 1969 (per a genealogy index I checked). For several years I took dance instruction from Mrs. Barclay, and gymnastics from Mr. Barclay, when they both were teaching at their Edmonds dance studio that is now occupied by Rick Steves. I was lucky to have performed in two of their annual shows held in the Seattle Center Playhouse. They had a standard of starting “on time”! At that time, the theatre’s doors were closed and the show began. Always a full house. Mr. Barclay was so sweet. During breaks during my lessons, he would talk about practicing tap dancing as a child in a corner of the house which wore the wood floor down.

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    1. To Sheryl Tregellas,
      Glad to know that your mom was a Barclay Girl ; so was I from 1956 to 1959 after 10 years of study in acrobatics and ballet. We are assembling a Barclay Archive for donation to the Seattle Public Library and would to share it with you! Could we connect so you can add your comments and a photo or two.

      Please contact with me at 206 409 5424 or victorssUSA@aim.com.

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  4. Our 4 year old granddaughter attends Barclay Shelton. The skill, professionalism, and how well the dancers are prepared is truly impressive. A wonderful place.

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  5. Hi, my Mom was a Barclay Girl way back in the early 1930s. (Virginia Townsend) I am a published fiction writer and I am now working on my mother’s story as a Barclay Girl. I have some very beautiful professional photos of her during her dance career, that I would love to send to you. In researching your history, I am unable to locate the first place in Seattle that the Barclay studio was located. I know it was downtown. Can you provide me with that location and the name of the building. Thank you so much.

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    1. Glad to know that your mom was a Barclay Girl ; so was I from 1956 to 1959 after 10 years of study in acrobatics and ballet. The downtown Seattle studio was in the Terminal Sales Building at 1st and Virginia, then later on 6th between Pike and Pine.
      We are assembling a Barclay Archive for donation to the Seattle Public Library and would to share it with you! Could we connect so you can add your comments and a photo or two. Please contact with me at 206 409 5424 or victorssUSA@aim.com. x Ignored

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