PJ Richardson, administrative master By Brigitt Mayer-Karakis

Philip Richardson, popularly known as P.J., was responsible for giving British ballroom dancing its administrative foundation, without which it would not have gained and sustained its pole position for so many decades. Lyndon Wainwright wrote in his Story of British Popular Dance about P.J.: “Fifty-three years of intelligent and well directed effort and support on behalf of ballroom dancing is a debt never to be forgotten.”

…and in 1924 the ballroom dance branch of the Imperial Society was formed. The first committee of that branch to deal with putting together a syllabus for examination consisted of: Josephine Bradley, Lisle Humphries, Victor Silvester, Muriel Simmons and Eve Tynegate-Smith. All teachers who wanted to be admitted to the branch had to pass an examination on:

  1. a rudimentary knowledge of ballroom dance music
  2. carriage related to head, arms and body
  3. knowledge of basic steps in foxtrot, waltz, one-step and tango

P.J. was chairman of the British Dance Council from 1930 to 1958 and its president from 1959 to 1963. He was chairman of the International Council of Ballroom Dancing, today’s World Dance Council, from its start in 1950, until his death in 1963.

From Ballroom Icons

Brigitt Mayer-Karakis is the author of the award winning book "Ballroom Icons", and chief archivist for the WDC Dance History project.
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