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Meet your teaching and support members.

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Ballroom & Latin, plus Sequence Teacher

Wendy Richards

Wendy started dancing at quite an early age whilst still at Junior School and took her medals, competed around the South West until she gave up dancing just before leaving High School.

 

Dancing with the Roy Whitfield and Phil Cockram School of Dancing in Exeter she competed regularly even getting to dance at the famous Tower Ballroom in Blackpool at the age of 15.

Although Wendy stopped dancing at 16 she has always loved dancing and knew that one day she would hopefully put on her dancing shoes again and her parents John & Pat Harris have always been there to encourage her.

Wendy found dancing at the age of 52 by accident when she joined a "Latin In Line" class in Pinhoe run by Joanna Partridge. This was just what Wendy needed to get back in the swing again and was soon dancing the Cha Cha and Rumba and many other dances - but in line's - no partner required.

A one to one dance lesson in 2012 with BBC's Strictly Come Dancing star - Ian Waite - a special birthday treat from Wendy's partner Sarah.

This will always be the highlight of Wendy's dance career and feels very privileged to have danced with such a great dancer and personality.

Teaching others to dance is always fun at all our classes and to see people having fun and socialising at dances makes us feel so proud of what our team achieves every week!

Our time spent dancing and running Tea Dances with Wendy's Mum & Dad is also very special, we have so many great memories that will stay with us forever!

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Ballroom & Latin Teacher (ISTD Member)

Diane Willmott-Stiles

Diane started dancing at a group class much like Dance AM in 2004.

 

She quickly realised that she wanted to compete and was fortunate to meet her like-minded dance partner Sarah (Hughes not Boyce!) at the same class.

 

With Sarah, Diane has competed in Europe, the US & Canada as well as being a regular on the UK competition circuit.

 

Diane particularly enjoys the process of learning and teaching and through her ongoing competitive training has become a Ballroom Technique Nerd, she will enthusiastically explain to you how to “do it properly”.

 

Diane is a registered member of the ISTD (Imperial Society of the Teachers of Dance)

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Tea Dance

John & Pat Harris

John & Pat Harris have always danced and this is what keeps them fit healthy & young!

 

They were asked to run a tea Dance over 10 years ago for the Age UK, and although the early dances only saw a few couples, word soon got around what a great afternoon it was that they expanded to over 20 people attending.

They then decided to run a Tea Dance under their own name and the "Tea Dance" at The America Hall was well supported each week by 50+ dancers of all ages and abilities.

It is because of John & Pat that Wendy, their daughter started helping out with the afternoon dance and enjoyed getting back into Sequence and Ballroom dancing again.

Although since lockdown numbers have fallen at the Tea Dance Pat & John no longer run the weekly Wednesday class but now hold a Sunday Tea Dance at the Marsh Barton Social Club in Exeter.

Wendy also helps with the running of this and often they have themes which everyone loves. These dances move to the Bank Holiday Mondays for Easter and August and they celebrate with an extra special Cream Tea.

The photo left was taken at The Tower Ballroom in Blackpool in April 2018 when Dance AM took 45 dancers to the ballroom and John & Pat took to the floor to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.

They had the floor to themselves and everyone watched and applauded them as they danced their favourite Waltz, a very special and emotional moment.

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Director of Unnecessary Things and Projects

Sarah Boyce

Sarah is the non-dancing member of the team but enjoys seeing our dancers progressing on their dance "journey"! However, she can be persuaded to do a Square Tango when needed.

Sarah looks after all the dancers well making sure they know what is happening from week to week.

Everyone looks forward to half time when a great cuppa awaits after a busy first half on our morning sessions and some dance banter amongst our dancers.

There is always lots to do behind the scenes of our dance classes and Sarah is a great support with Hall bookings and making sure that everyone is looked after whilst dancing.

Some of our dancers will tell you the highlight of the class is the half time Tea, biscuits and joke!

Dance Lesson

Your Teaching Team

Wendy & Diane

Wendy & Diane met when Diane joined the Alphington class to continue her dancing almost a year ago in 2022.

It was apparent from Diane's first class that her dancing was of a very high standard and she became interested in teaching to the group using her experiences as a very successful Ballroom and Latin competitor to share with the group.

Wendy states "Diane brings so much to our class, the posture and the flair and also how to bring out in our dancers that little bit extra!"

Having the luxury of two teaching rooms at Alphington Village Hall gives Diane the scope to teach on her own alongside Wendy who also teaches Popular Sequence. The two teachers work very well together and a lot goes into their lesson plans for each weeks class.

Wendy says "I often start as the lady and we change so that I am demonstrating the Gents steps! It keeps everyone on their toes - we do like to have fun at our classes"

We also watch current trends in Ballroom and Latin to make sure we are keeping up with new routines and putting steps together to teach to our group. 

Both Wendy & Diane feel that although we need to remember our roots we must also look at up to date teaching methods to keep learning current and appealing to everyone.

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