‘The Live Wires’ Principal Dance Teacher, Sarah Fenn-Tye, started to dance at the early age of 2½ years old and has been dancing ever since, obtaining an all round training as a child in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Ballroom & Latin American.
Sarah turned professional when she was 21 years old and is a qualified Licentiate ISTD & NATD Dance Teacher in Ballroom, Latin American, Disco Freestyle and Line Dancing. She has also obtained a Level 4 Diploma in Dance Education (QCF), and has qualified as a YMCA/RSA Fitness Instructor, Personal Fitness Trainer and Zumba Dance-Fitness® Teacher.
It was at the tender age of 5 years old, when Sarah first started training in Ballroom & Latin American with her medallist teacher Jean Cantell, that Sarah decided that her ambition in life was to become a World Champion Dancer and to run her own Dance School. She has achieved both of these goals!
SARAH – THE BALLROOM & LATIN AMERICAN COMPETITOR
Sarah’s international competitive career was launched with the advice of Keith & Judy Clifton who were at time one of the top Professional Latin American Couples in the World and are the parents of Strictly Come Dancing Professional Stars Kevin & Joanne Clifton.
They directed Sarah to the teachers who would help to develop her skills and understanding of dance. Over the years these teachers included:
Doreen Freeman-Burgess & Bob Burgess, Anthony & Fay Hurley, Bill & Bobbie Irvine (MBE), Richard & Janet Gleave, Michael Houseman & Valerie Waite, Bob Grover, Robin & Rita Short.
LATIN AMERICAN TEACHERS
Lorna Lee & Michael Stylianos, Lyn Harman, David Sycamore, Alan & Hazel Fletcher, Nina Hunt.
Sarah started her competitive career in great style, winning her first competition, which was an International Level Junior Open Championship at the age of 12 years old, with her partner Paul Quinnell. As her career progressed, she became one of the top Junior, Youth and Amateur 10 Dance Competitive Dancers in the World with her partners Nigel Clarke (UK/USA) & Gary Edwards (UK/USA).
At the age of 16 years old, Sarah represented ‘Home Counties South’ in the BBC TV Series ‘Come Dancing’ with her partner Gary Edwards. This experience was going to change her life. On the way home from filming the Semi Finals at the famous Tower Ballroom Blackpool, Sarah along with her mother Shirley received terrible injuries, in a very serious car accident. This could have been the end of Sarah’s dancing career, but due to her determination and the support of her mother, Sarah continued to dance and have an amazingly successful competitive career and her dance partner Gary Edwards “The Ballroom Giant” is now hotly tipped to be the next Strictly Come Dancing Judge!
As an International Level Professional Competitive Dancer, Sarah specialised in the International Ballroom (Standard) genre with partners Paul Tame (England), Brian Akers (Australia) and Tony Zumuran (Czech Republic) and at the time of retiring, Sarah was one of the top 24 Professional Ballroom Dancers in the World! Click to see Sarah rehearse the dances Foxtrot, Tango and Waltz with Tony Zumuran.
Sarah was also privileged to train with legendary show and exhibition choreographer ‘John Del-Roy’ (teacher of Pierre Dulane, whose early work with children in the USA was fictionalized in the film Take the Lead, starring Antonio Banderas as Pierre Dulaine). This specialist show training and fabulous choreography was required for Sarah and her partner Brian Akers to compete in the World Showcase (Segue) Championships at the Deutschlandhalle in Berlin, representing Australia.
Working with John Del-Roy inspired Sarah and encouraged her to be more adventurous and expressive in her dancing, increasing her understanding and appreciation of music. This period of training really shaped Sarah’s attitude and was an experience she wouldn’t have missed for the world.
Despite all of these competitive achievements and the experience she obtained in the Ballroom & Latin American dance world, Sarah decided to retire from Ballroom & Latin American Competitions to fulfil her life-time dream of running her own dance school. So in 1996, ‘The Live Wire School of Dance’ was born.
SARAH – THE SUPERSTAR LINE DANCER & WORLD CHAMPION COUPLES DANCER
When Sarah started ‘The Live Wire School of Dance’, one of the new type of dance styles she decided to teach, was Line Dancing, which was very popular at that time and incorporated both the dance and fitness elements.
Little did she expect that this new dance form would be the catalyst to an unexpected competitive dancing career in Line Dancing & American Style Couples (American Smooth).
Sarah was so successful in this brand new competitive arena that she very quickly became a UCWDC Superstar Line Dancer (2nd Place at World Championships in 2001 & 2002) (Medley) and won Multiple World Pro-Pro Championships in American Style Couples in the Classic & Showcase categories with her American Partner Tony Lee (2002 & 2003) (Spotlight, Nightclub, Two Step, Waltz, Cha Cha). Tony who was trained in the USA by Pierre Dulaine won the British Open Exhibition Championships under his real name – Tony Marolda.
Sarah also represented Europe in two separate challenges, “Europe versus USA” winning with her partners Roy Verdonk (Holland) in Spain (Roy and Sarah duet) and Toby Munroe (Canada) in Nashville, USA (Team Match Winning Routine).
During this period, Sarah also ran a highly successful Line Dancing Team called ‘The Live Wires’ who became CWDC British, UK & European Champions (1999) and were 3rd in the UCWDC World Championships (2000).
She trained a great number of British, European and World Champions in Line & Couples Dancing, including Maurice van der Harst (Holland) who she performed with in the Pro Am and Division 2 Classic Couples categories.
Sarah was also invited to train pupils and judge competitions all over the World, including the World & European Championships. All of these achievements were reflected in her being awarded the ‘UCWDC Worlds Favourite Line Dance Coach Award’ in 2004.
It was also a great honour, when Sarah was invited to choreograph and perform at the ISTD Centenary Gala at Sadler’s Wells in 2004.
As top exponents in the world of Line Dancing, Sarah & her dancers represented the Line Dancing genre in the ISTD Examination Board’s dance history. Fellow performers Elizabeth Fenn-Tye, Katie Goldfinch, Danielle Thompson & Lauren Bond, were all pupils at the dance school, and were World, European and British Champions in their own right. (Sadlers Wells Rehearsals)
It was at Sadler’s Wells that Sarah met one of her old Ballroom & Latin American Competitors Anton du Beke, who was the compere at the Centenary Gala and is now the Patron of The Live Wire School of Dance!
SARAH – THE DANCE TEACHER
Sarah continued to develop the dance school over the years whilst she was competing. She was also a founding member of the ISTD ‘Alternative Rhythms’ Faculty (now known as ‘Club Dance’) and was involved in the introduction of the ISTD Salsa & Argentine Tango Syllabus and accompanying videos in collaboration with Strictly Dancing Choreographers Richard Marcel (Salsa) and Ralf Schiller (Argentine Tango).
Now retired from competing, Sarah has continued to adapt and introduce new styles of dance to the school’s repertoire of classes: Disco & Commercial Street/Jazz, Modern Line Dancing, Zumba Dance-Fitness® and Ballroom & Latin American.
One of Sarah’s star pupils from her first ever children’s classes is her niece Elizabeth Fenn-Tye who started dancing with Sarah at the age of 4 years old. Elizabeth is now contributes to ‘The Live Wire School of Dance’, with her amazing teaching skills, choreography and fabulous personality.
Teaching is in Sarah and Elizabeth’s blood, coming from a long line of school teachers. They enjoy passing on their knowledge and developing the dance skills of children and adults, whatever their abilities. Every moment we spend teaching is a joy, and hopefully a little bit of our enthusiasm and love of dance will rub off on every child and adult we teach.
Sarah is very proud of everything she has achieved in her dance career, but she is most proud of all the lovely children and adults she has been privileged to teach over the years.