Dancing couple who have been hitting the floor for more than 100 years
THIS couple could give the new Strictly Come Dancing contestants a run for their money — as between them they have been moving to music for more 100 years.
Rita and Jim Thorne’s passion for ballroom dates back to their childhood — she was aged 15 and he was aged 10.
Mrs Thorne said: “Jim and I already had dance partners but soon we paired up and started courting.
“Jim always jokes that it cost him a fortune being married so long because on our Sapphire Wedding Anniversary he bought me a real sapphire in a chain.”
They started teaching dance in 1976 after Mr Thorne turned professional. And they have taught children as young as three right up to adults as old as 80.
Far from taking it easy, Mrs Thorne, aged 66, and Mr Thorne, aged 73, host classes at Danceland in Bridgewater Street, Little Hulton, specialising in ballroom and Latin, and are getting their students ready for two major competitions.
The grandmother-of-six said: “We teach ballroom, Latin and classical sequence now, although in the past we have done classes such as disco. The oldest we have is someone who is about 70. It’s a family-oriented school — we have children and their parents coming to different classes and sometimes the older children stay and dance with their mum and dad.
“We also do some teaching at St Gregory’s in Farnworth two mornings a week.”
One of their pupils, 18-year-old Tom Glynn-Whitehead, who attended Cannon Slade School, has just been accepted into the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Mrs Thorne said: “We’re all so proud of him. Apparently it’s the top college for dance and drama. He popped in to surprise us at rehearsals to say thank you for looking after him for seven years.
“He says he owes where he’s got today to the ballroom and Latin we’ve taught him, which is really nice to hear.”
The couple are currently preparing their under-16s for the North West Area competition in Wythenshawe on Sunday, September 29, and then on Saturday, October 26, students of all ages will be competing in the Nationwide Medallist of the Year Classical Sequence and Modern Sequence Finals Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
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