The British Dance Council (BDC) Story

[wide][/wide] Submitted to DanceArchives by Bryan Allen

The first move to rationalize the world of social dance was on May 12th 1920 when the British Dancing Times magazine held an “Informal Conference” of teachers of ballroom dancing in the Grafton Galleries.  Any who were interested could attend and an attendance of some 200 was achieved. Philip J S Richardson O.B.E. editor of the Dancing Times was elected to the Chair. This original conference led to three further conferences resulting in a report in 1921 establishing the basic forms for One-Step, Foxtrot, Waltz and Tango.  A fourth conference was held in 1922.

Over the period of the next seven years three more conferences were held setting forth rules for guidance in such matters as amateur status. This informal committee continued its work and in 1929 adopted the title of “Official Board of Ballroom Dancing” that in 1985 changed its name to “British Dance Council”.  In this brief history it is appropriate that it should identify the original 1929 Committee. It comprised: Josephine Bradley, Grace Cone, Ruby Peeler, Adela Roscoe, Muriel Simmons, Eve Tynegate –Smith, F. C. Barlow, H. Bloodworth, Santos Casani, Andy Cowan, H Vivian Davies, Mr. Greenwell, F.W. C. Leslie, Alec Miller, Alex Moore, M. Pierre, St. John Rumsay, Victor Sylvester, Maxwell Stewart, Major Cecil Taylor and P.J.S. Richardson Chairman. The British Dance Council, then known as the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing, was instrumental in the formation of the International Council of Ballroom Dancing, now the World Dance Council.

Currently the body’s main committee comprises delegates from the following professional bodies:

  • Allied Dancing Association,
  • Associated Board of Dance,
  • British Association of Teachers of Dancing,
  • International Dance Teachers Association,
  • Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing,
  • National Association of Teachers of Dancing,
  • Northern Counties Dance Teachers Association,
  • Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance,
  • United Kingdom Alliance Ltd,
  • Welsh Alliance of Teachers of Dancing,
  • The Association of Dance and Freestyle Professionals,
  • Ballroom Dancers’ Federation,
  • British Competitors  Dancesport Corporation,
  • Dance Promoters Association, and
  • The Crown Entertainment Centres Ltd.

Presidents and chairmen of the BDC since its creation
Year(s)                                   President                                     Chairman

1929 to ’58 inclusive                 Vacant                                    P. J. S. Richardson

1959 to ’63                           P. J. S. Richardson                 Arthur Franks

1963                                  Arthur Franks                          Alex Warren

1964                                          Vacant                                      Alex Warren

1965 to ’68 inclusive                  Alex Warren                        Leonard Morgan

1969 to ’72 inclusive                  Alex Warren                         Wilfred Orange

1973                                               Alex Warren                          Stan Atack

1974 to ’89 inclusive                  Leonard Morgan                 Leonard Morgan

1990 to 2003 inclusive               Freddie Boultwood           Freddie Boultwood

2004 to 2009                              Len Armstrong                      Len Amstrong

2010 to date                               Bryan Allen                            Bryan Allen


The work of the current BDC covers all aspects of social dance. It grants the right for individuals or organizations to run dance championships either open to the world or restricted to Britain and Northern Ireland  in Professional Ballroom, Latin, Sequence (Old Time and Modern). as well as corresponding amateur events, covering various age groups.

The major championships are the British Open Professional and the British National Professional in both Ballroom and Latin. In the last quarter of a century the following British couples have been winners on more than one occasion in the Open Championships:

For Ballroom Dancing

  • John Wood and Ann Lewis,
  • Marcus Hilton M.B.E and Karen Hilton M.B.E.,
  • Luca and Loraine Baricchi,
  • Christopher Hawkins and Hazel Newberry M.B.E.

For Latin Dance

  • Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl,
  • Corky and Shirley Ballas,
  • Donnie Burns M. B. E. and Gaynor Fairweather M. B. E.

Other notable figures, post World War to date

  • Bryan Allen                         
    Current President and Chairman of the BDC. An active coach of competitive couples and very energetic in pursuing the aims of the BDC, the working teacher and all those involved with competitive dancing
  • Len Armstrong                    
    A very successful competitor, Was President of the BDC and the International Dance Teachers’ Association
  • Stan Atack                            
    Chairman of the BDC
  • Josephine Bradley            
    Actively involved in establishing the “English” style of ballroom dancing in the 1920s and in coaching until well after World War II
  • Donnie Burns MBE and Gaynor Fairweather M. B. E.  
    World Professional Latin Dance Championship winners for an outstanding 13 consecutive years
  • Richard Gleave O.B.E and Janet Gleave       
    Nine times World Ballroom Champions (1973 to 1981)
  • Phyllis Haylor                     
    Involved in the early days establishing modern forms of ballroom
  • Marcus Hilton M.B.E & Karen Hilton M.B.E.     
    Ballroom Dance Championship winners for an outstanding 9 consecutive years as well as winning The British Amateur Latin dance championship in 1983
  • Bill Irvine M.B.E and Bobbie Irvine M.B.E.  
    Successful ballroom dance competitors, officials of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and renowned coaches of dance couples. Winners of 13 world titles in Ballroom, Latin American and Ten Dance
  • Henry Jacques                   
    Excellent dancer and analyst of dancing. Wrote an excellent study book, by many regarded as the best detailed analysis of Ballroom Dancing
  • Keith Jones                        
    A popular exhibition dancer in the 1950s vice chairman of the BDC and a leading member and President of the National Association of Dance Teachers
  • Walter Laird                        
    A very successful demonstrator of Latin dance and wrote a definitive text book on the dances. A Director of the International Dance Teachers Association and three times World Professional Latin Champion
  • Lyndon & Felicia                
    The most popular Latin dance exhibition couple of the late 1940s and 1950s. Helped popularize Latin dance.  Lyndon was Honorary Treasurer and Chief Administrator of the I.D.T.A. Wrote seven books on social dance. One translated into six languages
  • Alex Moore M.B.E                
    Developed the modern form of analyzing dance technique, had a letter service with a world wide circulation. With Guy Howard and Eve Kendall gave dual couple formation exhibitions – the forerunner of formation dancing
  • Eric Morley                         
    Head of Mecca dance halls. Created the original Come Dancing TV programs, the Miss World contests etc.
  • Edna Murphy                    
    Secretary of the Allied Dancing Association who was personally responsible for persuading British Tax Authorities not to charge Value Added Tax on dance activities
  • Wilfred Orange                  
    Organizer of the major enterprise Butlins Dancing
  • Pierre (Zurcher Margolle) and Doris Lavelle     
    Introduced Latin dance to Britain with especial reference to the adoption of the System Cubana rhythm for the Rumba
  • Len Scrivener                     
    A beautiful dancer and analyzer of the dances and wrote a valuable technique book
  • Peggy Spencer M.B.E.      
    Ran a busy school in Beckenham, England and developed formation dancing teams that were highly successful pioneers in the style. A staunch ISTD member and President
  • Michael Stylianos and Lorna Lee, Michael Stylianos a very successful competitor, teacher and Member of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing’s Grand Council
  • Major Cecil Taylor               
    An early President and Secretary of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
    British National Professional Ballroom Champions (from 1975)

  • 1975 Richard and Janet Gleave
  • 1976 Byron and Dorothy Charlton
  • 1977-’82 Michael and Vicky Barr
  • 1983-’85 Stephen Hillier and Lindsay Tate
  • 1986 Kenny and Marion Welsh
  • 1987 Marcus and Karen Hilton
  • 1988 John Wood and Anne Lewis
  • 1989 Marcus and Karen Hilton
  • 1990 John Wood and Anne Lewis
  • 1991-’92 Andrew and Loraine Sinkinson
  • 1993 Andrew Sinkinson and Amanda Owen
  • 1994-’95 Luca Baricchi and Loraine Barry
  • 1996 Andrew Sinkinson and Adele Preston
  • 1997 Andrew Sinkinson and Charlotte Jorgensen
  • 1998-’99 Luca and Loraine Baricchi
  • 2000-’01 Christopher Hawkins and Hazel Newberry
  • 2002 Alan and Donna Shingler
  • 2003 Christopher Hawkins and Hazel Newberry
  • 2004 Timothy Howson and Joanne Bolton
  • 2005 Christopher and  Justyna  Hawkins
  • 2006 Timothy Howson and Joanne Bolton
  • 2007 Jonathon Crossley and Lyn Marriner
  • 2008 Jonathon Wilkins and Hazel Newberry
  • 2009-’12 Warren and Kristi Boyce
    British National Professional Latin Champions (from 1975)

  • 1975-’76 Alan and Hazel Fletcher
  • 1977 Peter Maxwell and Lynn Harman
  • 1978-’79 Keith and Judy Clifton
  • 1980-’82 Sammy and Shirley Stopford
  • 1983-‘8 David Sycamore and Denise Weavers
  • 1985 Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl
  • 1986 David Sycamore and Denise Weavers
  • 1987 Donnie Burns and Gayner Faireather
  • 1988-’93 Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl
  • 1994-’95 Corky and Shirley Ballasccccc
  • 1996-’97 Bryan Watson and Karen Hardy
  • 1998 Paul Killick and Karina Kyklova
  • 1999 Gordon and Nicola Nordin
  • 2000-’03 Paul Killick and Hanna Karttunen
  • 2004 Matthew Cutler and Charlotte Egstrand
  • 2005-’06 Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova
  • 2007 Paul Richardson and Olga Rodionova
  • 2008 Paul Killick and Oksana Zoloterevskaya
  • 2009-’12 Gregor Rebula and Rachel Heron
    British winners of he British Professional Ballroom Championships (open to the world, Blackpool) since inception

  • 1931 Maxwell Stewart and Pat Sykes
  • 1932 Timothy Palmer and Kathleen Price
  • 1933 Timothy Palmer and Edna Dean
  • 1934-’36 Henry Jacques and Mavis Deeming
  • 1937-’38 Cyril Farmer and Adela Roscoe
  • 1939 Timothy Palmer and Ella Spowart
  • 1940 Sydney Lee and Vera Dunham
  • 1941-’45 Suspended – War Period
  • 1946 Charles Theibault and Doreen Beahan
  • 1947 tie between Wally Fryer and Violet Barnes and John Wells and Renee Sissons
  • 1948-’49  Wally Fryer and Violet Barnes
  • 1950-’52 Len Scrivener and Nellie Duggan
  • 1953 Sonny Binick and Joyce Hayward
  • 1954 tie between Sonny Binick and Joyce Hayward and Australians Alf Davies and Julie Reaby
  • 1955 Sonny Binick and Sally Brock
  • 1956 Alf Davies and Julie Reaby
  • 1957-’58 Sonny Binick and Sally Brock
  • 1959-’61 Harry Smith-Hampshire and Doreen Casey
  • 1962-’64 Bill and Bobbie Irvine
  • 1965 Peter Eggleton and Brenda Winslade
  • 1966 Bill and Bobbie Irvine
  • 1967-’68 Peter Eggleton and Brenda Winslade
  • 1969-’72 Anthony Hurley and Fay Saxton
  • 1973-’78 Richard and Janet Gleave
  • 1979 Michael and Vicky Barr
  • 1980-’81 Richard and Janet Gleave
  • 1982-’85 Michael and Vicky Barr
  • 1986-’88 Stephen Hillier and Lindsay Tate
  • 1989 John Wood and Anne Lewis
  • 1990 Marcus and Karen Hilton
  • 1991 John Wood and Anne Lewis
  • 1992 Marcus and Karen Hilton
  • 1993 John Wood and Anne Lewis
  • 1994-’98 Marcus and Karen Hilton
  • 1999-2001 Luca and Loraine Baricchi
  • 2003-’04 Christopher Hawkins and Hazel Newbury
  • 2005 Timothy Howson and Joanne Bolton
    British winners of he British Professional Latin Championships (open to the world, Blackpool) since inception

  • 1965 Robert and Margurite O’Hara
  • 1966 Bill and Bobbie Irvine
  • 1971-’72 John and Betty Westley
  • 1975 Michael Stylianos and Lorna Lee
  • 1976 Peter Maxwell and Lynn Harman
  • 1977 Alan and Hazel Fletcher
  • 1978 Peter Maxwell and Lynn Harman
  • 1979-’80 Alan and Hazel Fletcher
  • 1983 Sammy and Shirley Stopford
  • 1984-’88 Donnie Burns and Gaynor Fairweather
  • 1989  Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl
  • 1990 Donnie Burns and Gaynor Fairweather
  • 1991-’92 Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl
  • 1994 Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl
  • 1995-’96 Corky and Shirley Ballas

  1. it is so important for dancers to know about the past, how the wonderful dancing we now have has grown and developed by the expert performers, guided by the administrators who guard and protect the standards.
    This archive of information has been such an important addition to this website and Brigitt Mayer and the World Dance Council deserve congratulations and thanks from all dancers around the world..

  2. Brigitt,
    Camille de Rhynal founded the F.I.D. (Federation International de Danse). Founded on 15-5-1926 in Paris. My father and his then wife, known as ‘La Coppia Riador’ was issued with Licence 302 on the 1st Nov 1936. I have the original Licence and photos of Camille de Rhynal, Lilo Habrich and Herr Carl Macho. Germany. Marcel & Mme Chapoul. France. Maxwell Stewart & Pat Sykes. Great Britain and more, of the dancers. An interesting part of dancing competion history. You may like some more history, and I am also interested in finding out more. Tim Petrocchi

    1. Hi Tim,
      I:m looking for a picture (phptpgraph, newspaper or what else) of Camille de Rhynal. I can’t find something in the internet. You state you have something. If so, pls write to
      Thanks so much!

  3. Probably a long shot but I am trying to find any historical photos of my Grand Father. His name was Ronald Bentley and he was a member of IDTA until his death approx. 12 yrs ago. He was a judge at Blackpool many times. He ran a dance school in Kirkburton, West Yorkshire for many years called Grosvenor School of Dance or Grosvenor Ballroom School – I am not sure which. Would you be able to point me in a direction where I may be successful in finding images of him dancing? The family have none at all and would love to find some. He competed for many years after WW2 until he opened the school in the 1970s. Many thanks in advance 🙂

  4. I would like to find any information of my mothers involement in champion ballroom dancing she was born in1909 and her name was nora Blamer she live in west yorkshire

  5. I have recently learnt that my father Tom(my) Slater was Amateur British and European Jive Champion and one of the top 10 ballroom dancers in the country. I am wondering if you could guide me to a website or organisation which may have some records of the period 1947-1950. He died a few months ago aged 90 and his family do not have any tangible records. I am his illegitimate daughter hence the recent discovery. I am also hoping to find out if my mother was his partner. Anyway I would be most obliged if you would respond even if you cannot offer any assistance.
    Thank you for your time and attention.
    J Feona King
    Tennessee, USA

  6. I would appreciate if anyone can help me find an ex-ballroom dance judge who now lives in Exeter and shares his home with a fri no that used to work in a carpet shop.They go on several holidays a year, mostly gr.canaria, and 3/4 years ago stayed at the Taurito Princess, Many thanks.

  7. I have found yr website after much looking in the internet! I used to belong to Billy Martins School of Dance in Liverpool. Cannot seem to find any pics of Billy Martin,but I am sure he was President of one of the Dancing Boards of control at some time – Maybe Allied Dancing Association? I know his School of Dance is still going in Liverpool – albeit under a different name,can you help at all? Thanks. Ivy Holmes

  8. Hi, Over the years and many mishaps, all records of my dance experiences, medals etc have gone astray. I would like to know how to find one thing in particular, namely, a photograph of my former partner and I winning the Old time Devon championship 1966- 1968. I believe it was held in either Mary Tavy or Peter Tavy. My memory is not what it once was. I am still dancing, mainly sequence and ballroom but occasionally am able to take part in an Old time sequence which is wonderful. There are not many dance clubs here in Wiltshire and Old time seems to be disappearing, such a shame. If there is anyone who could give me a clue as to where to look for my long lost photo, I would be very grateful.

  9. Hello,
    I am looking for any information regarding my father, James Reilly. He was a dancer in the 50’s and even had a dancing school in Hull. His dance partner was a woman named Norma Scott, and they won many competitions. All of his trophies were given away before he moved to the US in 1961. I am his only child, with his wife, Mary Reilly (nee Empson). He passed away in 2009 at the age of 85.

  10. Hello, I am trying to find information regarding my mother Gwendoline (Dodwell) Elston, she danced with Ray Esberger and was South west of England Ballroom champion ( not sure of the years 40s or 50s) she was taught by my Aunt Phyliss Elston and later on Peggy Spencer. My family come from the Cheltenham area and my Aunt had a dancing school in Cheltenham which is were my mother met my Dad Ron Elston who was a teacher with Phyllis Elston.

    Thank you.

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