About JANET BRISTOW
My parents took me to my first dance lesson at Alby Johns in what was the old bus station in Guildford, when I was just five years old, because I was always dancing in front of the telly trying to copy the people that were dancing.
Then Alby Johns and his wife Rene decided to retire and sell their dance studio which had then moved to the Rodborough Buildings in Guildford in the late 1960's to Ex-World Ballroom Champions, Anthony Hurley and his wife Fay Saxton. Anthony and Fay ran many classes and private lessons in their dance school and employed several dance teachers. There was a gentleman dance teacher called Don Hunt (who is still teaching in Merrow, just outside Guildford). A lady teacher in the early days called Jean (she had great legs), then a lady called Sharon took over from her, she got me interested in the competitive side of dancing, then my best friend Iris Pilgrim took over from Sharon when she was just 16 years old (what a fantastic teacher and dancer she was), she was joined by Penny Hall and they both taught full time. I saw many competitive couples come to have their private lessons with both Anthony and Fay over the years and this always made me want to dance just like they did.
In 1980 Anthony Hurley was told that Rodborough Buildings was going to be demolished due to the poor state of the building and all the businesses and shops had to move out. Anthony then had a huge task of trying to find new premises for his dance school. So in August 1981 Anthony and Fay Hurley moved their dance school to their new premises at Trinity Church Yard, Off the High Street inGuildford. Anthony held a competition within our old dance school to rename it when we moved. I can't remember who won the competition or what they won, but it was re-named 'Hurley's Danceworld'.
At Alby Johns dance school, I remember my first dance teachers name was Colin Donaldson and I started taking my I.D.T.A (International Dance Teachers Association) dance medals after approx 18 months. When Alby and Rene Johns retired and sold their dance school, Colin Donaldson moved on and started his own Dance School in North Camp, Farnborough called The Diamond Dance Centre (which he still runs to this day). I carried on taking my dance medals with Anthony and Fay Hurley in both I.D.T.A but also started taking boys steps medals in I.S.T.D (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance) because Anthony and Fay Hurley were both qualified in I.S.T.D.
At the age of 11 my dance teacher at that time Sharon, found me a competitive dance partner called Kevin Weller and we trained very hard after school every day and after several long months started to compete. We competed together whenever we could, but we were also both still taking our dance medals and I was also helping out with the childrens classes on a Saturday and the adult classes during the week by the time I was 14 years old. I fell very much in love with this side of the dancing, helping and teaching others to achieve their goals - to learn to dance. So by the time I was 16 years old, I made the decision to stop competing in 1979 and take my first I.S.T.D. student teachers certificate and achieved a highly commended pass, then in 1981 I then took my I.S.T.D Associate Teachers Cerficate and gained a commended pass.