Nadine Senior MBE founded the school in 1985 after being inspired by other dance schools in Leeds such as the Phoenix Dance Theatre.
The school was revolutionary at the time as it was one of the few that taught dance at a higher education level outside London. She retired from the school in 2001, and was awarded an MBE for services to dance.
Nadine, nee Pickles, lived in Globe Street, Scarborough, and went to Friarage School and the Convent Grammar School, before going to college in Leeds in 1957.
The Northern School of Contemporary Dance published a tribute on its website, which read: “It is with great regret and sadness that we announce the passing of Nadine Senior MBE, dance pioneer and founder of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.
“An inspiration to the children at Harehills Middle School in Leeds, through her educational vision, teaching and leadership, Nadine went on to inspire many of the dancers, choreographers, teachers and dance leaders of our time, internationally. Though Nadine retired in 2001, the tremendous impact of her contribution continues to resonate. It underpins not only our School but Leeds as a City of Dance, with Phoenix Dance Theatre, RJC Dance and many other individual artists and arts administrators touched by her inspiration. We are immensely grateful for her life and saddened by the loss of such an amazing woman.”
Councillor Peter Gruen worked with Nadine for 20 years on the school’s Chair of Governors. He said: “Legend and icon are often overworked words but they truly apply to Nadine.
“Her love of dance and total dedication to giving young talented kids from Harehills and Chapeltown their first opportunity to excel at something they loved; has been a lasting testament to Nadine.
“We are all sad but very privileged to have known and worked with Nadine.”