It was this vision that led Mr Szabo to make one of the biggest commitments of his professional life – vowing to continue the legacy Maitland dance legend Ms Parker left behind. The Hungarian ballet dancer has become the principal and director of the iconic East Maitland Academy of Dance following Ms Parker’s recent death.
“This is the time for me now to step up and do this … and I really want to do this,” Mr Szabo, of Bolwarra, said. When Janos Szabo first walked into Daphne Parker’s dance studio and saw a little boy surrounded by girls he knew he was in the right place. “I have just been so lucky to have worked with Miss Daphne. And as much as we miss her she is still around, in all of us, and I want to keep that going. This will be my way of continuing her work.”
Ms Parker died early last month following an 18-month battle with cancer. And as Ms Parker’s fellow teachers and pupils continue to grieve for their mentor and friend, Mr Szabo said he would take a back seat and be patient. “My goal is to serve in Daphne’s way and to do the best,” he said. “And I am asking for the pupils and parents to be patient with me also. I need to sit back, look at things and see what needs to be changed, to modernise things. And we will have to change some things because the world is changing and one day we will need a new generation of teachers.” Mr Szabo first became involved in “Miss Daphne’s” world five years ago and the much-loved and respected dance teacher quickly became his mentor.
“It’s been a huge change coming from the professional dancing world to the dance teaching world, but Daphne was there to help me,” he said. “I remember walking into Daphne’s studio and seeing this little fellow surrounded by girls and I knew I was in the right place. If I had not have had Daphne’s support and encouragement then I wouldn’t be doing this now. “And if I’m good enough and work hard then this will work.”