Emma is dancing in the footsteps of Julie

IPSWICH: A diligent dance tutor has won an esteemed accolade – 30 years after her own mentor earned the very same achievement.

Emma Hawley, of the Ipswich School of Dancing, was awarded a prized Phyllis Haylor scholarship from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) after scoring near perfect marks in her Associate dance instructor’s degree.

The 25-year-old mum-of-two became the second tutor from the Bond Street based dance school to take the honour, three decades after Julie Tomkins, who has been training Mrs Hawley for her professional exams.

Earlier this year Mrs Hawley aced her Associate Latin American qualification, judged by leading dance teaching and examination board, the ISTD, achieving an overall mark of 98 per cent, which included a 99 pc grade for her Rumba demonstration.

Mrs Hawley was then invited, along with candidates with the highest scores in an associate exam for the last year, to apply for the prestigious ISTD scholarship.

“I had to go to Worthing and do a presentation and have an interview with four ISTD examiners and committee members,” she explained. “I chose to do my presentation on why teaching fundamentals is so important in any dance form.

“I stayed in Worthing for a three-day teachers congress, during which they announced that I was the winner!”

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During Mrs Hawley’s competitive dancing career, which continued up to the age of 19, she was ranked fifth in the UK and represented the country a number of times at international competitions.

Since then she has concentrated on imparting her skills and knowledge to future dance stars at the family-run Ipswich School of Dancing, where she was trained by mum and co-owner Sue Matthews, aunt Rosemary Watson, and Jennifer Dix who took over from the late Olga Wilmot in January 2000.

Olga trained all three of the current crop of senior tutors as well as Julie Tomkins, who won the ISTD scholarship in 1980 and is now an examiner and committee member. The 48-year-old, who now shares her time between teaching in Ipswich and at her London studio, said: “The ISTD award the scholarship to people they believe will continue and further their career in dancing, so I hope Emma can follow in my footsteps.

“There is so much super talent in Ipswich and I’m still very passionate about my home town.”

Mrs Hawley added: “We are amazed that the school has now produced two winners of this excellent award in two generations. Mum and Rosemary have contributed so much to my career by training me, chauffeuring me around to competitions when I was younger and giving me lots of support over the years.

“I am hoping to become an examiner myself in modern ballroom, Latin American and disco faculties.”

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