In 1929, successful international vaudeville performers George and Florence Barclay journeyed from Sydney, Australia to Seattle, Washington where they began what would become an institution in the Seattle performing arts community: The Barclay Studios of Dance. Barclay dancers participated in many civic and charitable events and their annual recital in June, a tradition which continues today. The Barclay Studios were soon known as one of the premier Seattle dance schools and the "Barclay Girls", a troop of Can-Can dancers, became a famous fixture at Pier 91 welcoming home military ships returning from Europe. After World War II, George and Florence expanded from their Seattle base and began several suburban locations, including one in Edmonds. The Barclay reputation of quality continued to grow. In 1963, after George passed away, Florence Barclay focused her attention on the thriving Edmonds location. In 1978, the legacy was passed on: Florence retired and turned the dancing shoes over to Leanne Shelton.
The Barclay-Shelton Dance Centre opened its doors in September 1978. Since that time, it has grown steadily and many students have gone on to professional careers, most notably Kiki Bennett who was a Radio City Music Hall Rockette from 1988-2002. George and Florence Barclay touched the lives of thousands of young people over the years. Their legacy lives on through Director Emeritus Leanne Shelton, Co-Directors Nicole Cox and Stacie Brown, and their talented staff who continue the Barclay Tradition of providing dancers of all ages and abilities with the best quality instruction, staying current in dance trends while respecting timeless traditions in a family friendly atmosphere.