Teachers Committee

The British Dance Council Teachers Committee is an autonomous sub-committee, which was formed to look after the interests of the social dance teacher.  The Committee consists of one delegate from each of the examining BDC corporate Members, a delegate from the Welsh Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dancing and five independent delegates who are elected each year for their expertise.

The Committee is the body that considers and advises the corporate members on any matter relating to:

The Teachers' Committee is always ready to deal with the varied enquiries that come in relating to the social dance business and is always prepared to look into any suggestions that are forthcoming from social dance teachers. 

Why Learn with A Member Of A British Dance Council Recognised Organisation?

Feel safe in the knowledge that you are being taught by a qualified member of a British Dance Council recognised dance teacher. Our corporate members ensure that your teacher is:-

Safety

Well Trained

Monitored for Quality Assurance

Fully Insured

IS YOUR TEACHER PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED?

For anyone wishing to take up dance lessons the Teachers’ Committee of the British Dance Council would like to recommend that you ensure that your dance teacher is professionally qualified with an awarding body that is recognized by the Council.

All such professionally qualified dance teachers should:

• Have the appropriate insurance cover in place
• Have the correct Child Protection policies in place
• Hold any necessary licences in place i.e. PRS/PPL licence for the playing of music
• Ensure that the premises they use are safe and fit for purpose
• Be aware of and abide by the latest GDPR rules (General Data Protection Requirements)
• Have the relevant Disclosure and Barring Service checks in place (this used to be a CRB check - Criminal Records Bureau) for their staff

The BDC Teacher's Committee Hall of Fame

The British Dance Council was formed in 1929.  Since then, our members and teachers have been instrumental in shaping absolutely everything you see in Ballroom & Latin American dancing to this very day.

​We are, as you will understand, enormously proud of both the amazing people who's work and foresight enable us, the existing BDC Teachers Committee to continue this important work.

​Without their dedication we would not have the amazing  industry we, and our organisations, are so lucky to be working in today.

​As such, the BDC Teachers Committee has set up this "Roll of Honour" section using modern technology to shout their achievements from this modern day "roof-top".

​All of these people were, in their time, visionary's in the industry.  Many of them even  "shunned" for having a radical and often ground-breaking approach to dance.

​Here we acknowledge their brilliance in a ground breaking way that we feel sure and they would approve of.

The BDC Teacher's Committee Hall of Fame

Honouring the work of

Peggy Spencer MBE

Margaret Ann "Peggy" Spencer MBE (née Hull; 24 September 1920 – 25 May 2016[was a British professional ballroom dancer, choreographer, competition adjudicator, and organizer.

Peggy married Jack Spencer in 1940, and had two children, Helena and Michael. The marriage was not successful and they divorced in 1947. Peggy formed a close relationship with her brother-in-law Frank, whom she eventually married in the late 1960s.


For many years, she and Frank (a musician and a dancer before the Second World War) ran the Royston Ballroom in Penge, South London. Peggy was a regular TV dance commentator. She was a leading coach for competitive Latin dancers, and was influential in both Ballroom and Latin American branches of the ISTD. Her ballroom formation team was twice invited to dance for the Queen at Buckingham Palace. For 40 years, her teams appeared in the Come Dancing TV programme.

Peggy choreographed a dance sequence for a Beatles video ("Your Mother Should Know"), and the tango for Rudolph Nureyev in the film Valentino (1977). She was a choreographer for the Burn the Floor dance show, which combined ballroom dances with modern ideas. More than most things she enjoyed appearing on the BBC's children's show Blue Peter, where she brought young dancers from her classes to demonstrate. She was the subject of the TV show This Is Your Life in 1993.

In 2004. Peggy Spencer became President of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She received multiple awards for her work in teaching and adjudicating in ballroom dancing, including eight Carl Alan Awards. She and Frank were both appointed MBE in 1977.[4]

Peggy was undoubtedly one of the finest grass-roots dance teachers of all time, and remained amazingly sharp and current until her death in 2016.

​Shortly before her death in 2016, and at the age of 96 she was asked in interview by BCD Teachers Committee member Phil Meacham

“Given that you have always been a visionary, where do you feel dance styles are heading next?”  Peggy replied “you need to listen to the style of the music of today, and match what we do in dancing to that.  She continued “Keep an eye and sharp ear on the current trends by Will.I.Am, Jay Z and Pharrell Williams, and that will tell you the way our styles are developing.”

Not the kind of response you would expect from a 96 year old, but is showed instantly that Peggy remained in touch with current trends right to the end.

The BDC Teacher's Committee Hall of Fame

Honouring the work of

Lyndon Wainwright

Lyndon Bentley Wainwright (7 December 1919 – 2 January 2018) was a British metrologist, ballroom dancer and author. He worked at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) during World War II, and was a Chairman of the British Engineering Metrology Association. 
After the war, he was a leading exhibition dancer, and one of a small group of experts who introduced Latin American dance to Britain. Wainwright wrote nine books on ballroom dancing. He received the Carl Alan Award for 1996-99, and other honours from the dance community. He was an expert on phonogram performance rights and was a member of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Born in Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1919,  Wainwright met his first wife, Felicia (14 April 1920 – September 1993), in 1940, and they soon started to train as a ballroom dance couple. They married in 1943, the year they first gave a dance exhibition for payment. After taking coaching from Monsieur Pierre, they started to compete as a professional couple. In 1948 they won the Premier Prix in a World's Professional Eight Dance Ballroom championship, staged in Paris.

The couple then specialised in the Latin dances and helped to introduce these dance forms to the British public. The partnership was billed as Lyndon & Felicia for their dance exhibitions, which were given in clubs, ballrooms, restaurants, celebrations and on television. On BBC tv, they appeared with the Edmundo Ros Orchestra, and Victor Silvester's BBC Dancing Club, dancing rumba, samba, paso doble and mambo. Between 1950 and 1960, the pair were probably the leading exhibition dancers of Latin American style in England. At their peak, they were presenting over 400 shows a year, often several times at different venues on a Sunday, and they also ran dance studios in Kingston, Ewell and Purley in Greater London. They were engaged to perform every alternate Dancers' Night for a year at the Hammersmith Palais

Many years later, the BBC invited Lyndon to take part in a television documentary Last Man at the Palais dealing with the history of the Hammersmith Palais. The Palais had opened in 1919 as a dance hall and entertainment venue, and finally closed in 2007. With a fellow professional, Lyndon danced a waltz, which was the last dance shown on the televised program,[9] first screened on BBC Four on Christmas Eve 2007.

After his dance partnership and marriage ended in 1960, Wainwright devoted himself to teaching, writing and the administrative side of the dance world. He was Executive Councillor, Hon. Treasurer, and Company Secretary of the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA). He served as a delegate to the British Dance Council and as founder and Hon Secretary of its Teachers' Committee, and on the Council for Dance Education and Training, and the Central Council of Physical Recreation. He was an acknowledged expert in the Performing and Phonographic Rights involved in playing music in public. For over 50 years he contributed articles to dance magazines such as Dance Teacher (now Dance International), Ballroom Dancing Times (now Dance Today), and Dance Expression. Wainwright also wrote articles for the Daily Mirror.


The dance profession has honoured Lyndon for his services to dance. In 1996 and 1999 he received the Carl Alan Award, in 1998 the Classique de Danse, in 2000 the President's Award of the Ballroom Dancers' Federation, and in 2005 the Distinguished Service Award of the IDTA.

The BDC Teacher's Committee Hall of Fame

Honouring the work of

Victor Sylvester OBE

Victor Marlborough Silvester OBE (25 February 1900[1] – 14 August 1978) was an English dancer, author, musician and bandleader from the British dance band era. He was a significant figure in the development of ballroom dance during the first half of the 20th century, and his records sold 75 million copies from the 1930s through to the 1980s

Silvester was born the second son of a vicar in Wembley, Middlesex. He was educated at Ardingly College, St. John's School, Leatherhead and John Lyon School, Harrow, from all of which he absconded. In September 1916 he enlisted in the British Army during the First World War and served as a private in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He lied about his age to the recruiting authorities, stating this as 20 when in fact he was only 16. He took part in the Battle of Arras in April/May 1917, and also was a member of five execution squads, where deserters, some no doubt suffering from shell-shock, were shot.

Once his age was discovered, he was immediately withdrawn from the front and sent back to the military base at Etaples. After two weeks he was transferred to the First British Ambulance Unit For Italy. On 4 September 1917 at Sella di Dol near San Gabriele, while acting as a stretcher bearer to evacuate wounded Italian servicemen during a heavy bombardment by the Austrians and Germans, he was injured in the leg by a shell burst but refused medical treatment until the other wounded had been attended to. For his gallantry on this occasion he was awarded the Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valour in a decree by the Italian Minister of War dated 30 November 1917. In a letter to Silvester's parents dated 20 September 1917, his Commandant in the First British Ambulance Unit, the noted historian G.M. Trevelyan, wrote: "He is certainly one who will be deservedly loved wherever he goes in life, and he is besides made of sterling stuff.”

After the war he studied at Worcester College, Oxford for a year. He decided to resume a military career when he was offered a place at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, but he quickly decided it was not for him. He also studied music at Trinity College, London, having already had private piano lessons as a child.

​His interests had meanwhile turned to dancing. He was one of the first post-war English dancers to feature the full natural turn in the slow waltz. This innovation was a factor in his winning the first World Ballroom Dancing Championship in 1922 with Phyllis Clarke as his partner. He married Dorothy Newton a few days later.

He competed again in 1924, coming second to Maxwell Stewart – the inventor of the double reverse spin in the waltz – and Barbara Miles. He was a founding member of the Ballroom Committee of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing which codified the theory and practice of Ballroom Dance – now known as the International Style – and published the first book embodying the new standards in 1927. This was Modern Ballroom Dancing, which became a best-seller and has remained in print through many editions, the last issued in 2005.

​He went on to open a dancing academy in London, which eventually developed into a chain of 23 dance studios. By the early 1930s his teaching had become famous and he had taught some of the top celebrities of the day, among whom was Estelle Thompson, better known as Merle Oberon.[8] Victor had his own BBC television show through the 1950s, called BBC Dancing Club, and was later the President of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

The lack of what he felt were adequate records for dancing led Silvester in 1935 to form his own five-piece band, later enlarged and named Victor Silvester and his Ballroom Orchestra, whose first record, "You're Dancing on My Heart" (by Al Bryan and George M. Meyer), sold 17,000 copies and was to become his signature tune. He insisted his recordings conform precisely to the beats per minute recommended by the ISTD for ballroom dances, a concept termed "strict tempo". In British eyes he became indelibly associated with the catch-phrase "slow, slow, quick-quick-slow" – a rhythm that occurs in the foxtrot and quickstep.

​The Silvester band always had a distinctive sound, achieved by an unusual line-up including, as well as the usual rhythm section, alto saxophone (initially Charlie Spinelli and later, for 26 years, Edward Owen "Poggy" Pogson, who had previously played in Jack Payne's and Jack Hylton's bands), a lead solo violin (for many years usually Oscar Grasso), and not one but two pianos, one taking turn in solos and the other maintaining an improvised tinkling continuo in the background throughout every piece, which Silvester called his "lemonade". This piano sound is said to have been created for him by the pianist/ later bandleader and BBC radio star Felix King.

​He notes in his autobiography that his first two pianists in 1935 were Gerry Moore for the melody and Felix King for the "lemonade". Later pianists included, at different times, Monia Liter, Charlie Pude, Jack Phillips, Billy Munn, Victor Parker (also accordion), Ernest "Slim" Wilson (who was also Silvester's main arranger, and with whom he co-wrote several pieces), Eddie Macauley and Ronnie Taylor. Silvester's drummer for over four decades was Ben Edwards, crucial for supplying the strict tempo. Sometimes there might be four saxophones altogether, two alto and two tenor, including in latter years Tony Mozr, Percy Waterhouse and Phil Kirby in addition to Pogson, all doubling on clarinet as required. On some recordings, the Ballroom Orchestra was augmented with 15 strings and woodwind, when it became "The Silver Strings". During the war, when Oscar Grasso was in the forces, the classical violinist Alfredo Campoli took his place, using the name "Alfred Campbell" for contractual reasons.

​These were first-class players, some of whom (like Liter, Grasso and Pogson) were already noted in jazz or danceband circles before they joined Silvester's band. Unlike most British dance bands of the era, there were no vocals. Silvester usually did not play (he was a violinist), but stood in front of his orchestra in white tie and tails, conducting with a flourish.

​He would continue to make music for half a century, mostly covering the popular music standards and show tunes, sometimes (but rarely) swing, trad jazz and in latter years, especially from 1971 when the orchestra continued under his son Victor Silvester Jr, rock and roll, disco and pop. These later attempts to stay "with it" involved the introduction of an electric guitar, but it is mostly the more melodic recordings of the 1940s and 1950s that are now reissued on CD and still sold widely.

The BDC Teacher's Committee Hall of Fame

Honouring the work of

Alex Warren OBE

Alex Warren had a background steeped in dance. He took over management of the family owned Warren Academy of Dancing, at the Albert Ballroom in Glasgow, from his parents during the 1920’s, introducing new dances such as the Charleston.

During his competitive career, Alex Warren successfully competed in Championships all over the United Kingdom, including the World Championships. As one of the most prestigious men in dance, he was subsequently appointed as Chairman of Judges and Compere at the world famous Blackpool Dance Festival. This position he held until the second world war. On returning to dance after the war, Alex Warren returned to the Blackpool Festival as a judge, never being afraid to express his opinion forcibly.

In 1934 Alex Warren wanted to have a dance society for Scotland and he therefore formed the Scottish Dance Teacher Alliance to run the dance business in Scotland.

Alex Warren’s great talents were recognized and he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing (now BDC) in 1963 and 1964, then Chairman of the OBBD from 1965 to 1973 inclusive. In 1973 Alex Warren was also awarded a prestigious Carl Alan Award.

In addition to his dancing career, Alex Warren was also a Justice of the Peace and was awarded the honour of the Freedom of the City of Glasgow.

Alex Warren is remembered as a man of integrity and honesty, coupled with having an intense knowledge of top class dance production and the ability to pass his enthusiasm on to the many dancers he taught. Alex Warren - a great Icon of dance.
Jack Reavely to be thanked and acknowledged for providing archive information on Alex Warren

 

If you have any issues, suggestions or ideas that you would like to put before the committee, please contact the Honorary Secretary:

Jan Williams
Email:  janby1@aol.com
Telephone:  01342 843132

 

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