December 5 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
When Jan and Clive Denby started dance lessons ahead of their wedding, they didn’t know much about the foxtrot, waltz or rumba.
But after mastering a few basic steps, they were hooked and soon signed up for regular classes. Seven years later, ballroom is more popular than ever thanks to Strictly Come Dancing and the Denby’s are competing on the national stage.
The couple from xxxx had their first lessons with Diane Mackenzie at the Tower Ballroom on Riverside Road, Gorleston, back in March 2006.
“What started off as ‘a few’ lessons to do a decent dance became something that we attended most Monday and Thursdays each week, and once our confidence grew we started to attend the Saturday social evening dances that Diane held every week,” said Clive, xxx.
A year on, the couple picked up silver and bronze medals in ballroom and latin.
When Diane died in 2009, they lost a friend and a teacher and feared their dancing was over but eventually started lessons at Nigel and Larinda Smith’s dance school at the Great Yarmouth Conservative Club.
“We will always remember our first night attending their lessons,” said Clive.
“We had thought we were quite good up to that point, but very quickly realised that we weren’t very good at all.
“So apart from attending the group lessons and practice sessions every Monday evening, we started private lessons every Friday evening with Larinda. It was at this point that the beauty of dance became clear to us, and what had previously been a hobby now became an obsession with us striving to do better, which wasn’t the easiest task as we are both in our 50s.
“After about two years we decided to start competing on the dance circuit around the country. That again was another eye opener, what looked good in the dance studio didn’t necessarily transmit to the competition scene, and we realised that instead of being big fish in a little pond we were definitely little fish in a big pond.”
Hard work paid off, however; 56-year-old Clive and 54-year-old Jan reached have reached the final of the Latin category in the Champions of Tomorrow contest held in Blackpool for two years running, this year finishing fifth out of 32 entrants.
Later this month, they will compete at the Britain’s Best finals at the Tower Ballroom in Birmingham.
“The icing on the cake was being invited to the Dance Promoters Associations’ Bournemouth Masters Tournament in July of this year,” added Clive.
“We felt honoured to be invited as we realised we were dancing against the best 12 couples in the country in our respective grades, and that wherever we finished would be our official ranking for the next twelve months.
“I think what all of this proves is, that if you want to achieve something no matter what age you are, as long as you both are fit, able and dedicated, anything is possible.
“Both Jan and I don’t really know what we would do without our dancing and we have become very good friends with our instructors, Nigel and Larinda. We both feel a huge and special thanks should go to Larinda without whom none of this would have become possible.
“We feel extremely lucky and privileged to have been able to find this level of dance instruction at a local venue, as years ago we would have had to travel further a field to obtain this degree of tuition, and for that we will always be grateful.
“We have also developed a very good social life associated with dancing, and have met some lovely people throughout the years.”