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  1. ITV Report

Tiller Girls' Irene Holland returns to the Palladium

Photo: ITV News

When it comes to dancing girls, the women who perhaps set the benchmark for perfection were the world famous Tiller Girls.

They were known for their precision routines and being able to perform 32 and a half high kicks a minute. One of their top troupes performed at The London Palladium, often alongside huge stars of the last century like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Bob Hope.

Today I accompanied 84 year old former Tiller girl Irene Holland back to the theatre. As she stepped onto the stage there for the first time in over 60 years, you could see the glamour and the glitz light up her eyes.

I know Irene as she taught me how to dance from the age of 8. She may now be 84 but she has always looked the same to me - and looks decades younger than you would think.

Her tales of being a Tiller Girl during the 40s and 50s are fascinating... how Bob Hope would only just make it to the stage from the golf course and how Frank Sinatra charmed all the cast and crew are just a couple of anecdotes. (You can read more in her book, "Tales of a Tiller Girl")

But Irene isn't starry about those times - for the past 50 years she has shared her passion for dance with hundreds of students at The Willow Tree Centre for Dance and Performing arts, which is based in Tiverton, Devon. She currently has 250 students, teaching 5 days a week. Her passion now is showing them the delights of the theatre, and giving them confidence in all aspects of life.

Leaving the Palladium today you could see she has special feelings for the place, but, as she told me, her footprints will always be on that famous stage.