NCDTA History                   

When we were founded in 1925 we carried a slightly different name; we were originally called ‘The Northern Professional Dance Circle’.  This title was then changed in 1930 to what you see today: ‘The Northern Counties Dance Teachers’ Association’. This was implemented in order to incorporate the four northern counties at that time: Northumberland, Durham, Westmoreland and Cumberland.  However, the success of NCDTA has meant that membership has now spread far and wide.

The first branches to be established as part of the NCDTA were the Ballroom and Old Time Branches, followed over later years by Latin American, Tap, Ballet, and Musical Comedy.  In 1940, Ballroom Medal Tests were introduced and in 1944 we were able to hold our first Ballroom Medal Test Competition.  Once these first medal competitions were introduced there was no stopping the progression of the NCDTA.  We soon organised in quick succession more Medal Competitions such as in 1947 and 1954 our Tap Medallist Competitions and the Old Time Medal Test Competitions. The NCDTA were also the first to introduce an Under 8 syllabus to competitions.  During the 1950s, for example, the Amateur Ballroom, Old Time Championships and our Inventive Dance Competition took place.  On a sadder note, unfortunately, the well-known Northumberland and Durham Professional Championships ceased in 1955 due to lack of support.      

In 1956 membership had grown to an impressive 203 members.  Associate members over 21 years of age were allowed to vote.   Our Latin American Branch was fully established in 1958, enabling us to incorporate this into our Amateur Examinations. We held Junior Ballroom and Old Time Championships, All Girl Competitions and eventually Latin American Championships. 

So who were these prestigious champions?

The NCDTA is pleased to have produced many wonderful dancing Champions in all its branches, with the British Professional Old Time Championship being a particular highlight in the history of the NCDTA, and the rich heritage of the North East of England is based on winners Jack Rigby and Florence Newbegin, who held this title in 1957, 1958 and 1959. Ken Park and Mavis Whiteside (daughter of Florence Newbegin) won this title in 1962-1966 and history was made when Mother and Daughter competed in the final of the British Professional Old Time Championship in 1959. Jim Hall and Denise Mayo went on to win the title in 1973-1974. Darren Park and Andrea Kilgour won the title in 1994-1995 and Darren with Sharon McCann in 1996. The famous ‘Bartonians’ Formation Team trained by Tony Smith and subsequently Eddie and  Moira Whinfield won the British Formation Championship in 1959, 1971, 1972, 1974 and consecutively from 1983 to 1989.

Over the years many of our members have won Inventive Dance Competitions and these wonderful dances are still being danced today both competitively and socially. The Theatre Branches of the NCDTA have also produced many champions, winning Stage Dance Council Scholarships, British Championships and many more.   The prestigious annual dance awards event, the Carl Alan Awards -which honours those who have made a significant contribution to the world of dance and theatre in the UK- have also been received by quite a few members of the NCDTA over the years; Florence Newbegin, Jack Rigby, Gilbert Daniels, Ken Park, Mavis Whiteside, Jim Hall, Tony Smith, Renee Anderson, Lilian Aubrey, Darren Park and Hayley Conway to name but a few.   

The NCDTA has also had a big input into the starting up of ‘Come Dancing’ with one of our local professionals Mavis Whiteside being one of the original adjudicators and in which many of our top amateurs entered and were successful, including the ‘Bartonians’.    In 1966 we were holding Tap and Modern Championships for juniors and seniors and until a few years ago these four championships were completed in one day. However, due to such a large amount of entries, it has becoming increasingly difficult to complete junior competitions on one day and senior competitions the following.  These competitions are not the only aspects promoting the huge success of the NCDT. In 1970 our Stage Festival was introduced and this has grown so much that it now runs for 3 or 4 days!  New activities introduced include Speech & Drama and Country & Western. The most recent additions are Performing Arts and Salsa, Pre-Associate Examinations in Ballroom, Latin American, Classical Sequence and Theatre which originated in 1978 and during the 80s we saw the introduction of Social Dance Tests and Freestyle Competitions.   

It is rare to find a dance association with such detailed and rich history such as the NCDTA. We are now a thriving dance association, with membership steadily increasing over the years to provide an ever expanding and welcoming community of members.