Dancing at YMCA

Mrs. Hazel Aitken taught dancing in the YMCA on the south side of Glasgow Road for 25 years from 1983 until the YMCA closed around 2008. Fondly remembered, hundreds of girls and a few boys must have passed through those doors in all that time. Margaret Haliburton was the hallkeeper.

I’ve written extensively about the YMCA before, but I’d love to add some detail to this particular business. What can you tell me about the dance school? Were there assistant teachers? Did YOU attend? What nights was it held on? What can you add?

2910 YMCA

2010 Blantyre YMCA derelict (PV)

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Kirsty McDonald Hazel Aitken can you help ? Great dance school xx
Anne Marie Murray I used to go to Miss Nancy’s dance school above the YMCA in the 70s…
Elizabeth O’Donovan Yes I used to take you Anne Marie 😘

Catherine Docherty went to miss nancys dance school

Elaine Speirs I went to Miss Nancys too in the early 1970s
Jimmy Whelan THE ROXY

Doon the Roxy on a Saturday night
Dressed to kill oh what a sight
Struttin oor stuff oan the dance flair
The whole of Blantyre seemed to be there

Two bob tae get in or a tin a beans
Ten bob for sweeties that was yer means
Music kicks aff wae some rock n roll
Smoochin some burd tae a wee bit of soul

Smelly toilets and flaking paint
Fae oor crowd ye got nae complaint
Loads of great memories in that wee hall
Generations of people having a ball

Another memory to be wiped away
Gone forever the Y.M.C.A.
At least there calling it a fancy name
But the Spice of Life just is’nae the same


Gemma McCloy Young and Aitken School of Dancing holds a very dear place in my heart. Especially the YMCA. Happy memories here with Hazel, Caroline and all the girls and boys ❤️❤️❤️ xxx
Sylvia Mclaughlin Fiona Kerr-Coates 😂On a Saturday nite 😉😘
Fiona Kerr-Coates I remember my Aunty Sylvia dragging me to the under 16 disco. Her boyfriend (at the time) lifting me up and sitting me on top of a big radiator with juice and crisp. No idea what they did but just loved sitting there, enjoying the music. Happy days!
Was it child abuse? I don’t think so. Just loads of happy memories! Fx
( You have a lot to answer too Aunty!!!!! 😂)

Sylvia Mclaughlin Fiona Kerr-Coates Yep! 🙋😂😘

Collette Maguire Gardiner Miss Nancy was my teacher on a Thursday night from about 1978-1985ish I think. After I’d take a short cut threw the dandy to stay at my grans on Cowan Wilson ave, fab memories
Lynn Horne I started going to Young & Aitken when I was 3 years old (1986) my grandpa bless him took me to lessons every Saturday morning. we did yearly exams in the YMCA (nerve racking) I attended young and Aitken dance school for 18 years – wow didn’t realise 
Hazel Aitken Still remember your wee granpa constantly shouting at you for misbehaving Lynn Horne – some things never change LOL Hx
Linzi Gorrance Haha great memories x

Anne Simpson Attended Miss Nancy’s tap dance classes in the 70’s. The toilet on the stairs was freezing in a leotard x

Fiona Cowan I attended this dance school from 1984 for many years, originally on a Saturday morning and later on a Wednesday night. Hazel & Caroline are great teachers. The Young & Aitken dance school is still going strong and have classes in high Blantyre parish church hall. They recently had their 35th anniversary display which included some former pupils to performing.
Andi Mac And all of the former pupils were fabulous!

Catherine McCormack I attended Miss Nancy’s too.

Valerie Krawczyk Wendy and Hazel went to Miss Nancy in the 70s. She also taught me in a little shack at the foot of Logan Street, possibly late 50s or early 60s!

Darren Bulloch Is that where u learnt the snake shuffle

Nan Burrows What lovely memories

Clare Welby The dance school is now in the Old Parish church on a Saturday and Wednesday

Michelle Phillips I attended the dance school from it began in 1983 until I was 21 and have very fond memories of the YMCA. I remember sitting our exams every December and having to wait outside the big hall in the stone stair case in leotard and leggings shivering waiting to go in front of the examiner where a Calor gas fire would be heating the examiner only. Caroline Young and Hazel Aitken devoted so much of their time to the girls and o believe still do. I didn’t attend the 35th anniversary as I’m not as slim as I used to be. Dance classes were held on a Saturday morning until we reached our teens and then moved to Monday nights as most of us had Saturday jobs. You could always get a great tap on the stone hallway where we would go to practice a new step until we had it to put into the routine. I remember the early classes being held in the room upstairs before the school started to grow. There was an annual dance display held on Blantyre High School Theatre before moving to EK Village Theatre prob around mid nineties. These were held every June and as far as I am aware still are. Still say there isn’t a better dance class around for teaching tap. The school was and still is called Young and Aitken.
Vicki Carracher I attended young and aitken dance school from 4 years old for 17 years. Caroline and hazel were great teachers and some of their students have gone on to gain their teaching qualifications they are now teaching the next generation of their students children. I attended a Saturday from 9.30 til 1pm then moved to Monday class when I was older. They teach tap, modern and highland dancing.
Hazel Aitken Well I think some of my previous pupils have covered nearly everything here. We did start teaching dancing in the upstairs hall of the YMCA in 1983 – Tap, Highland & Modern. Our very first pupil was a girls called Claire and I have taken a mental block over her surname. We held our shows every year in Blantyre High School and as Michelle above says exams every december in the YMCA – freezing cold waiting to go in to the big hall. PS our girls over the last 35 years have achieved 100% pass marks. After the sad closure of the YMCA we moved to the Blantyre Old Parish Church Hall where we still are and now also teach Freestyle (Caroline’s son Andrew Starr teaches this as we are too old!!!). We still have exams every year in December and we now hold our annual display in the Village Theatre East Kilbride.
Hazel Aitken This year was our 35th Anniversary and were delighted that 10 of our former pupils returned and performed 4 routines in our annual display – all were fantastic.

Rose Jardine As a mum I trekked out every week hail rain and snow lol well worth it. I enjoyed the shows in the old Blantyre High especially when the mums waited in the showers changing the girls and boys, wilts a few drinks to keep going good chat lol, I’ve still got a lot of the costumes so well made by the dress maker ,not only good memory’s for the kids but also mums as well x

Fay Jockel Carol-ann Taggart was your mum not the dressmaker at the YMCA dance classes? X
Carol-ann Taggart Yeah she deffo was. She still misses it but her health stopped her from doing it x
Hazel Aitken Yes the best dressmaker every Carol-ann – we still really miss her and was definately a big part of the Young & Aitken School of Dancing Hx
Carol-ann Taggart She would still be doing it if she could x
Davy Thomson The discos were amazing, can anyone remember the big gym horse that used to sit in the hallway
Davy Thomson Similar to this one
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Blantyre Project thats giving me the fear already. Big Aitken shouting at me in 1st year to get myself over it or he’ll throw me over it!!
Andrena Black Both my daughters Laura and Rachel attended Young and Aitken school of dance xx they loved the shows that were put on in the high school. I still have the videos of the shows xx happy memories 💕
Elizabeth Grieve I remember going to gymnastics class in the big hall

Lorna Clare Michelle Clarke Hill xx

Caroline Fox In 1971 went to gymnastics Sandy nisbet took these use to have dances to mrs hslibutton husband took us for star gaising also

Jane Mcguigan I went to miss Nancy’s class too!

Maria von Trapp I went every Saturday morning. Caroline and Hazel great teachers. Loved the shows in the old Blantyre High. I only got to Bronze but loved it x
Hazel Aitken Never late to come back and maybe get to Silver LOL Hx

Jiae Jiae I went to Mrs Brown when I was little for ballet lessons.

Carol Crombie Was that Daisy Brown? If so, my sister and I went too as Daisy was our great-aunt.

RobertMargaret MacDonald I went to the Young & Aitken School of Dance along with my daughter who was 6 at the time from 1995 to 2002. I was at the old age of 34 lol. I had always wanted to learn to tap dance but I ended up joining the modern stage class too. Hazel and Caroline did a great job on me as I went from knowing very little to reaching Premier award level in just 7 years. My daughter continued going to classes including Highland dancing until she was in her late teens when she left to go to London to start a career in nursing. We both have very fond memories of the Young & Aitken School of Dancing and the numerous stage shows that they put together every summer. Good times Hazel & Caroline xx

Chelle Law Balfour Roller disco’s were amazing lol

Jock Simpson Good Memories

Sandra Garry Miss Nancys dance class in the 70s early 80s , she taught many a kids the shuffle hop step lol many fond memories … Kirsty Laing xx
FiFi Ní Chaisil And hit you with her stick when she wasn’t happy 😂

Sandra Garry FiFi Ní Chaisil mind that, nane eh this child abuse claims u got rattled n that wiz it lol xx

FiFi Ní Chaisil Sandra Garry ye and no moaning about it but her wee dance classes were great and the concerts . X

Sandra Garry Aww they sure were hen aww down the chapel hall dancing out wee socks aff @ good times , nae drama xx

Kerri Alexander I attended this dancing ☺️
Annette Tait Alma Beaton a mind u n Gail Connelly taking me here for Gymnastics 🤸‍♀️ xx😂❤️

Fiona McMillan Young And Aitken was my first dance school. I remember attending in the YMCA. I must have been about 4 or 5. I sat my first exams there and our shows were in Blantyre high school theatre. Happy times Xx

Mary McGaulley My daughter went to Miss Nancy’s loved the concerts in the chapel halls. Great for getting kids together.

Sarah Reid I attended this dancing class when I was young it was great there was a few diffrent types of dancing taught from
Tap dancing to highland . Was always great fun as a kid 🧒 and the dance shows where even better ! My mum put me into this dancing to bring me away from my shyness (bet she wish she never now as it worked 😂)

Claire Isabella Yes I remember miss Nancy’s dance class and also gymnastics on a Thursday night.

Lesley Sheridan I got piano lessons upstairs with Yvonne Watson

Phyllis Rooney I got locked on the bloody toilet!! Death trap of a place! 😡
Janet Carignan My mother was born in 1910 in birds row birds ammo

Ian Dino McDougall Remember spending loads of time in there when wee Marty was the hall keeper.

Annette Tait Me tae Dino Alma n Gail took me wae them aw the time lol 😂 xx

Ian Dino McDougall Yes I no ..the discos where good and the tuck shop..then slipping oot the bk for a can of tennents followed by a poke a chips on the way bk to the industrial 😊xx good times

Patrick Mckeane Can you remember that far back

Ian Dino McDougall Patrick Mckeane Haha only just..the chinky next door was good to.chips n curry sauce. Was it called the sha-tin

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  1. Margaret MacDonald

    I attended the Young and Aitken school of dancing at the unusual age of 34 as did my daughter who was just 6 years old at that time. I had always wanted to learn to tap dance but I ended up joining the modern stage class too. From 1995 to 2002 I went along to the Wednesday evening classes. Hazel and Caroline did a great job with me because I went from knowing nothing to getting to premier award level in the space of just 7 years. My daughter continued going to the Young & Aitken school of dance until her late teens when she had to move to London to start her career in nursing. Both myself and my daughter have very fond memories of Hazel and Caroline’s dance school and the many stage shows they have put together over the years. Good times.

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