I started dancing at the age of 3, because my brother went dancing with his friends and at that stage, ever competitive: “anything he could do, I could do better”. Initially Mum was told that I was too young, but after much pleading was allowed to give it a trial for a couple of weeks – here I am 40+ years later. It’s incredible to think that we start children now from as young as 18 months old.
I always get asked what my favourite style of dance is, as a child, it was always sequence dancing, as it was the only type of dance, where I could remember the routines – being in strict 16 bars. Now though, I don’t have a favourite – if I did, that would become apparent in my pupils and I need everyone to achieve their full potential (not mine).
Everyone will tell you that I grew up wanting to be a dance teacher, well I did, but more than that I wanted to be a ‘World Champion’ (inspired by my idols at the time, Latin Champions Sammy & Shirley Stopford, better know nowadays as Shirley Ballas, Head Judge of Strictly Come Dancing) – unfortunately for that I needed a dance partner and the Miners Strike put paid to my chances of having a partner, without moving to an area such as London. Instead I focused on becoming a teacher, passing my first professional exam at 16 and not stopping until I’d got all the way through to the highest level of Fellowship.
I first opened my own dance school “Ballroom Blitz” (subsequently renamed to ‘The Music & Dance Journey’) on a part-time basis, when I was 21 – it had to be part-time, as I only had 6 pupils then.
I never liked school, so I left when I was 16, initially I’d always been told that I wasn’t clever – that wasn’t the case, I just hadn’t found the subjects that suited me, or the best method of learning – something else that I’m passionate about. To prove people wrong, I continued to study (on a part-time basis whilst working full time) for a Bachelors degree with the Open University, then later for a Masters Degree in Education & Training.
Now I’m also a Director and Chair of Governors of a local primary school as its important that children are able to benefit from their time at school as it’s a long time for children to go and not be happy.
Outside of dance, what do I like? I love my dogs: 2 greyhounds called Bliss and Flame – you’ll often see them at the studio. I love reading and writing. I love ice-cream. Best of all I love visiting Vienna and Budapest with my husband Mark – especially the relaxing thermal waters – heaven for dance teachers.