Antony Gardner, a teacher for Plymouth Modern Jive Club has brought home several medals for the UK after competing in the European Modern Jive Championships in Poland.
After going through to the final in all disciplines, he was awarded two 2nd places, two 3rd places and was 4th overall for the top award, the Advanced Open, which makes him one of the top dancers in Europe.
Antony said: “I feel extremely proud to be able to represent not only my local venue, but my country at the European Championships.
“I didn’t have much time to train with my dance partners due to the demands of my job so it was extremely nerve-wracking to see the other well practiced and slick dancers on the floor. At the competition there were 15 of us from England all together. The best dancers were there each representing their country – there was about 90 people there competing. Our main competition was the Hungarians, but we did really well and probably brought home around 30 medals altogether.”
Antony first started dancing in 2006 after being inspired by his brother, and entered his first competition 6 months later. He said: “My first competition was in 2007 and I came first in one of the categories – I have been dancing and competing ever since. “I started teaching after three years – initially with a few friends who were asking for some of the flashier moves I do at competitions, but then I moved on to paid teaching.”
On what his army colleagues make of his toe-tapping success, Antony said: “My mates in the army love it. They are quite supportive but I get all the usual banter you would expect. “I’ve even given dance lessons to some of them for their weddings.
“I can be based all over for my job, but the club is really social. I can go away for long periods of time and can come back and be social and see everyone.”
Antony added: “I’d love to take a few people from the club to the UK championships next year, so we’re working towards that.”
Elaine Davies-Evans, Chairman of Plymouth Jive commented: ‘We are very proud of Antony, he is a credit to the club and we knew he would do well in representing not only the UK but also Plymouth Jive.’
All pictures courtesy of Plymouth Herald