Star Jane led the way in Scotland in dance and yoga

The Borders yoga and ballet community has lost one of its leading stars following the passing of Jane Smith (also known as Jane Thomson), aged 89.

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 11:05 am
Jane Smith, a leading light in ballet and yoga, who died last week, aged 89.
Jane Smith, a leading light in ballet and yoga, who died last week, aged 89.

Jane was born in Glasgow on March 26, 1931, and went on to become one of the leading stars of the Scottish ballet scene and a true pioneer of Scottish yoga.

At the age of 16, Jane moved on her own to London to pursue her passion for dance after seeing the show Red Shoes.

She was soon recruited by the International Ballet Company and went on to tour extensively throughout the UK in the 1940s and 50s. Jane rose to become a first soloist in the company and went on to perform with Ballet Rambert.

In 1959, she gave birth to her only son Norman before moving to the Scottish Borders with her husband Rupert, who was the managing director of the family printing company Smith and Ritchie in Albert Street, Edinburgh.

Jane then embarked on a new career as a yoga teacher, pioneering yoga in Scotland before it had been widely heard of in the west.

She set up a yoga studio at Lurden House, Hassendeanburn near Hawick, where she lived.

Here she trained the country’s future yoga teachers with classes and retreats throughout the 1980s and 90s.

Among her many achievements, she helped to establish the Borders Yoga Circle.

An intelligent woman with a wicked sense of humour, Jane loved to host family at Christmas, Easter and during the holidays, and was known to love spoiling her grandchildren.

Family members remember her with huge affection and for the great time had at Lurden House, filled with drinking, feasting, and laughter.

Following the death of her husband Rupert in 1988, she began teaching at the Scottish Yoga Centre in St Stephen Street, Edinburgh, eventually moving next door to the centre to continue teaching others the joy of yoga.

After suffering recent ill health, Jane moved back to London to be closer to her family in 2016.

She died at the Meadows Care Home in Muswell Hill, London on May 7.

Jane was a remarkable person; witty, intelligent and in many ways a woman ahead of her time who will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her son Norman, daughter in law Margaret and two grandchildren, Nina and Libby.

The family are hoping to arrange a memorial later in the year in Scotland.