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BBC's Strictly Come Dancing is inspirational, says C J Dance school owner, of Denver, who has taught for 50 years

Dance school owner Carole Jones is celebrating 50 years of putting her pupils through their steps with a special fundraiser.

Carole, of Denver, set up her business C J Dance in 2010 but has spent five decades of teaching people ballroom and Latin American dancing, which is her passion.

She said that in recent years, the BBC's popular Strictly Come Dancing show has had a positive effect on the dance world. "We always see an influx of new dancers in September when the show starts up again and also in January after the Christmas show," she said.

Carole Jones pictured with her dance class at Gaywood Church Rooms
Carole Jones pictured with her dance class at Gaywood Church Rooms

It all began in the Majestic Cinema in Lynn's Tower Street, when bored with the youth club in the same street, she and a gang of friends turned up at the Majestic to check out the dance classes.

She said: "We all had such great fun, laughed through the lesson and back to the youth club. I had fallen in love with dancing."

She took her first dance test in 1968 followed by five more that same year and another seven the following one.

Carole Jones pictured with her class in Gaywood
Carole Jones pictured with her class in Gaywood

Her teachers Tony and Janet Kershaw soon had her demonstrating during the beginner classes and helping to teach bronze level ballroom medal classes.

In 1969 she took the International Dance Teachers' Association (IDTA) exam in ballroom and passed. Her examiner was well-known ballroom dancer Lyndon Wainwright.

She went on to study Latin American style of dance and soon gained an IDTA Licentiate, an internationally recognised advance level teaching qualification.

"During my time as a mum and my working life, I have always tried to find time for my favourite hobby, dancing, and offered my services to dance schools and Adult Education wherever I lived," she said.

Carole Jones, right, with members of her dance class at Gaywood Church Rooms.
Carole Jones, right, with members of her dance class at Gaywood Church Rooms.

"This led me to starting my own school in 2010 and I have offered social classes, private lessons, wedding dances and workshops over the years.

"I have always found it very rewarding to teach people at beginner stage but then some wanted to gain reward for their efforts so I started offering examinations."

Some of her beginners have gone on to take professional exams, two of them being Terry Pither and Ken Ward, who are still helping Carole to run the school today.

Although dancing was her love, Carole gained teachers' diplomas in IT, a degree in computing, became an A-level examiner and taught computing at the College of West Anglia for 20 years.

However all the time she was working, she continued to hold dance classes. In 1983 she offered dance classes for Adult Education in Clenchwarton, Hunstanton and Downham Town Hall.

"These 50 years have brought me great pleasure and many happy memories. Is 50 years of teaching dance enough? Possibly not. The famous Peggy Spencer didn't retire until she was 92, so there's time for a few more years yet."

To mark her anniversary, Carole is holding a celebration dance on Saturday, September 28, at 7.30pm at Stowbridge Village Hall. Tickets cost £8 and proceeds will be donated to the East Anglian Air Ambulance. To reserve them, contact Carole on 01366 382825 or email her at cajones21@sky.com

Details about her classes, which she holds at Gaywood Church Rooms on Wednesdays and Stowbridge on Thursdays, are available on the website www.cjdance.co.uk

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