Suzanna Bowen with her students preparing for The Final Curtain before Suzanna leaves for Victoria after 18 years teaching in the Northern Rivers.
Suzanna Bowen with her students preparing for The Final Curtain before Suzanna leaves for Victoria after 18 years teaching in the Northern Rivers. Teagan Horrocks

Final curtain for Suzanna

AFTER 18 years, hundreds of students and more than a dozen end-of-year stage extravaganzas, local dance teacher Suzanna Bowen is calling it a day.

With studios in Lismore and Alstonville, her school, Dance Energy, has coincided with a boom in dance popularity in Australia and helped hundreds of students to participate in a multitude of dance styles with some going on to successful teaching careers.

The former actor and dancer started Dance Energy after returning from Britain to care for her father in 1993.

"I just started the school to see what would happen, and here I am 18 years later," she said.

"It's going to be really sad but we're planning a big finale concert, The Final Curtain, next Friday (December 9) at the Lismore Workers Club with all 80 current students aged from 3 to 21 years old on stage.

"I've been contacting people on Facebook and would just love any past students or parents to come.

"We've had some amazing concerts over the years - the last 16 at the Workers Club.

"They have been really generous over the years letting me have motor bikes and a horse on stage and six of my husband's uni students coming down from the ceiling on ropes for It's Raining Men.

"My husband told them to do it or he'd fail them," she said, only half joking.

And if you had any doubts about the obliging nature of The Workers Club staff, they got the foal up to the auditorium via the lift.

"That was for a performance I wrote called The Trip to Marrakech about a magic pony," she said.

"Since my acting days I've always created my own themes and stories."

After five years acting and dancing professionally in Sydney, she headed for Britain where she spent seven years touring with play productions in the late 1980s and early '90s.

"It was such a buzz - I also did some film and television work," she said.

Ms Bowen is moving to Queenscliff in Victoria with her husband, Southern Cross University marketing lecturer Lee Bowen, and stepson Harley.

"Lee is from Melbourne and I've never lived there so it will be a new adventure," she said.

"We'll be living on Bellarine Peninsular where all the big ships sail in.

"I might even pick up my acting because it's been such a long time between drinks."



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