Coaching for adults in Ballroom and Latin American dancing.
Private lessons and first dance lessons for your Wedding
dansbanx is the dance teaching company of John and Catherine Banks.
John has been involved in ballroom dancing since 1973 when he left Wolverhampton to go to University in Newcastle upon Tyne. John carried on dancing through university and danced for the University team.
Catherine also came up to the same university from Rochdale and joined the same ballroom dancing society. Catherine’s partner for only a short while was the well known comedy actor Rowan Atkinson who was studying electrical engineering at the time. Dancing wasn’t his main passion, he loved acting even then, but the experience was interesting for her to say the least.
After university we decided to take up a hobby that we could both enjoy and joined an adult evening dance class and took our medals. We started having lessons at the Alletsa Ballroom in Whitley Bay, sadly now closed, and tried social dance sequence competitions for a little while. We then decided to try old time dancing and later joined an old time formation team. Our team (the Alletsa Old Time Formation Team from Whitley Bay,) won the British Championships at Blackpool in 1986 and appeared on TV’s Come Dancing representing the North East in the same year.
We were introduced to competitive ballroom and Latin American dancing when some friends went on a dancing holiday to Torquay and came back full of news about the ballroom dancing competitions they had seen. We decided to give it a go and our first competition was at Sutton Coldfield. We danced Under 35 beginners in 1988 and we both remember it well, dancing on our own as there were no other competitors!
We were then hooked and concentrated on slowly working our way through the grades. We ventured a bit further away from the North East for lessons, to Leeds and Liverpool, continuing to make more progress. Once we turned 35 there were many more competitions to dance in, so much so that we could actually remember our routines by the end of the competition! We danced both ballroom and Latin American but decided to concentrate on ballroom dancing once we reached the top senior grade as we could not cope with the late nights; Latin American competitions were always last and living so far north in Whitley Bay meant that every competition entailed at least a three hour drive home.
We won several ballroom dancing championships and continued to strive for improvement. Our favourite competition venue was always the Winter Gardens at Blackpool, as there is nowhere quite like it, whilst for practice we tried as often as we could to get to the Tower in Blackpool for 10am on a Saturday or Sunday when it is quieter, the atmosphere there is great with a large ballroom floor to practise!
We were very happy dancing at the senior level and represented our country when asked on several occasions. Our trip to Vienna for the World Senior Championships in 1998 was a highlight of that year and a trip the following year to Auckland in New Zealand, again representing England in the World Senior championships, was a very memorable occasion. We also enjoyed all our England team matches, especially those abroad in Holland. During those later years we were lucky enough to attend England Squad training in London which we always enjoyed and gave us access to top coaches in the South.
Dancing is a great hobby, we both enjoyed meeting all the lovely people through dancing and it’s a perfect way to keep slim and fit. Now that we are both teaching (we are both UKA Licenciate ballroom and Latin American members) it is a pleasure to pass on to people in the north east just some of the knowledge that we have picked up along the way. At the moment we are concentrating on those who have never danced before but hope also to teach those with a little more experience, including those who might want to give competitive dancing a go!
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