From day 1 dancing (& music) has always been a part of my life, my earliest memories are of my mum dancing with my in the living room... I must of been 2. My love of music was completely insync with my love of dance, so much so that at the age of three my parents bought me a real record player. This may of been to stop me using there's, but it seemed to work and instead of pocket money I use to get one vinyl single a week. My first single that I was bought was Postman Pat lol!
My first proper dance training came at the age of 6, when I asked to do both tap/stage dance and gymnastics. I can't remember much but I remember making up my own routines to film music such as Rocky V, which combined both dance and gymnastics. I remember I looked forward to every Saturday, and the athletics of the gymnastics really helped me with my flexibility and dexterity. The communal tap classes where a hoot too, I seem to remember lots of out of class practice was involved and driving my mum mad with shuffle, hop, steps; off the buffalo; and timesteps (of which I hated learning these lol).
As well as my dancing I was very much enjoying music, I remember learning to play the hand bells, recorder, church bells & many other instruments. I seemed to really take to the arts and I was lucky that my parents were very supportive of this.
I remember upto secondary school I kept up with all my musical/dancing commitments, another memory I have is attending a show with my sister and her ballet class performing (they were soooo cute!). The early years of Secondary school were difficult and I remember trying to plan for the future, thus resulting in a difficult decision to stop my dance classes. This then allowed me to focus all my energies on music, which at this time I was excelling with my instruments with my greatest musical achievement being a finalist in the Young Musician of the Year in 1992 and gaining Grade 8 ABRSM in my saxophone & clarinet. I enjoyed both arts equally, and performed in many musicals (including the leads in The Jolly Postman, Little Shop of Horrors, Oliver & Bugsy Malone), and numerous classical concerts... the highlight being a firework & music spectacular in Springfields, Spalding.
After gaining great grades in both GCSE's and A-Levels, university was the next step. The four years in Manchester were one of my happiest and really helped shape me as a person. The University societies gave me the chance to revisit my love of dance. I was chuffed to join the Manchester Students' Dance Society, it opened up different styles of dance I had never considered trying. The first class of the term I attended was 3 x 40 min classes in ballet, stage and tap, I was new to Manchester and knew absolutely no1 at the class... after the final class I started packing up my things and the place started filling up for the next class. Next thing I knew, Jane the dance teacher was like, you're a man you'll do! For the rest of the evening I was partnered up with numerous ladies learning Latin & Ballroom dancing. After the class finished, Bob Dale (he trained 8 times world champions such as Donnie Burns & Gaynor Fairwheter) approached me and asked would I be coming back next week, I said I wasn't sure and he told me that I should, and that he'd like to privately coach me on technique and the variety of dances.
Several months later I was entering Inter-Varsity University competitions all over the UK. I continued with all aspects of my dance for the whole four years at University, pushing myself and excelling at my craft I passed numerous dance exams and won many competitions, medals & trophies. My strengths seemed to be the ability to pick up new steps very quickly and I think this has been key to my ability. During these four years I also got numerous semi/professional contracts as well, I was a regular cage dancer in numerous nightclubs in Manchester & Liverpool. I also was lucky enough to dance with the ex-boyband 5ive, one of the dancers was injured during one of their dates in Sheffield, and I was very lucky in performing on 3 of their stadium shows (manchester, glasgow, cardiff)... other highlights where auditioning for Stars In Their Eyes (Tv Show), Adam Rickett (Backing Dancer), & Billie Piper (Backing Dancer for "Something Deep Inside" Video).
After university I moved back home and looked for work, after a year of only working in temporary positions with agencies I moved to Peterborough to look for work. In my 2nd year in Peterborough I started up my Latin/Ballroom dancing again, I had to travel to Leicester to get decent lessons and train with my partner Katie. We worked solidly for over a year and a half and competed in many competitions gradually improving our marks/standings and skill. The best achievement we had was winning the Junior Champions' of Tomorrow trophy in Blackpool. It was electric and something I consider to be a highlight of my dance career. A year later Katie, left Leicester to continue her PHd, so unfortunately I was partner less and the fees of private lessons got too much so dancing took a back seat again.
In 2005 while in Northern Ireland (attending my sisters wedding), one night my Auntie Margaret asked if I wanted to come to her linedance class... this is how I caught the bug. Upon my return to Peterborough, I discovered James classes and the rest is history. I love my Crowland class, it's such great fun, so many characters and I really do miss it when I'm not there. Highlights for me have been the great parties we have had, the intermediates actually nailing my dance, Waiting for Your Call (even though they think they don't know it), and seeing the Beginners progress and gain confidence in their ability and dance.
I don't know what the future holds for me, that is a chapter yet to be written. Though I think I have an idea, I have now become a part time instructor teaching/recapping dances on every class night. I really enjoy the experience and feel privileged people pay to be taught by myself :o) After teaching for some time now I have progressed to teaching my latest creations at workshops, guest teaching at classes and demonstrating at events. I'm more at home on the stage than in my house!. I have choreographed many linedances and have been lucky enough to have a few published in the B.W.D,A, magazine (a long term supporter of myself). Nothing gives you such a buzz as seeing a mass of people dancing something you have created.
I have had 4 "hit" dances; "Waiting For Your Call", the highest rated linedance to Madonna's Hung Up, "Do Right", a lovely jazz number published in July's B.W.D.A. magazine and danced across the UK (well at socials I've attended lol), "Xplosiv", a funky phrased pop dance published in November's B.W.D.A. magazine and "Alesha's Boy", a fun easy dance to Alesha Dixons "The Boy Does Nothing" which got to number 12 in the Linedancer Top 40 chart and number 1 in the USA chart!!. Long term goals are to be teaching more, meeting new people, making new friends/contacts and get published in Linedancer Magazine.