It’s been nearly two weeks now since we announced our somewhat sad retirement from competitions and it’s given me time to reflect on nearly 25 years of memories. As with any career, there have been highs and lows, but I guess I’m quite fortunate to be able to walk away with the highlights closest in my thoughts. Of course now is a good time to point out that quite probably the greatest highlight of my ‘almost’ illustrious life as a competitive dancer came in October of 2006. I’d like to think that Kelly would agree! It was then, as a bright eyed, innocent 28 year old I wandered into the foyer of the Novotel Wollongong (that’ll be in Australia) and met my future wife – and look what she’s done to me!! I think that occasion and the subsequent years can be saved for another time.
You could say I saved the best ’till last (and I probably should!) however my dance partner history is chequered with success and failure and I think now is a good time to start sharing some of the more interesting moments! My first ever partner was called Anne-Marie Beattie. She was 7 and I was 9 and our first competition was at the Leigh Ballroom in Eastleigh – where I had first started to learn dance as a small(er) boy.
We were disqualified.
My mum always has been and still is a bit of seamstress. From my early years, right up until I stopped competing in Latin competitions in 2002, she made all of my outfits and most recently my teaching trousers. They were all brilliant. Anyway, in this first competition of mine she decided to rustle me up a lovely aquamarine satin shirt, which was very 1980’s! Despite a thorough search, we’ve not been able to find any pictures of it sadly, although there is a video of it which in time I’ll share with you. If you behave. You’ll have to make do with this picture instead. Notice that I conformed with a white shirt and bow tie??
Now, there are certain rules regarding what juvenile (under 12) dancers can wear and it stipulates that the boy must wear a white shirt and black tie or bow-tie in Latin. Obviously, an aquamarine satin shirt with ruffled shoulder seams is not the expected attire for a 9 year old boy and simply against the rules. It was a bit like a moment from Strictly Ballroom! Needless to say the chairman of adjudicators on the day disqualified me, which I think was a little harsh especially as it was my first competition and I was only 9! His name was Bryan Allen, and I’m pretty sure he has held that a moment against me my entire career! Looking back, the question shouldn’t be why were we disqualified, but why didn’t our teacher tell us the rules? They allowed me to go out onto the floor, in my glorious technicolour shirt, showing up all the other little boys in their boring and bland white shirts! Perhaps they didn’t bet on Mr Allen being such a scrooge!
I think that’s probably enough to be going on with for now, but trust me there are plenty more stories like this one to come! Perhaps next time I’ll recount the moment I dropped a Dancing With the Stars judge on her head…
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