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The Echo
April 8, 2011


A LIGHT-FOOTED gran is the inspiration behind a three-generation dancing dynasty which has just won top awards at a prestigious national ballroom competition. Lyn Smith, 64, is glowing with pride after her three grandchildren triumphed on the dance floor at the national medallist of the year competition in Blackpool at the weekend.

Bradley, Ross and Jasmin Bryant, aged 15, 13 and 11 respectively, came top in their age groups for Latin and ballroom events in the Empress Ballroom.

Mrs Smith, of St Thomas Road, South Fambridge, who was herself a winner back in 2006, said: “They have done really well and I am so proud of them. It doesn’t matter what age your dance partner is, because they only judge your dancing. Bradley’s partner in this competition was 34. It runs through the family, because my mum and dad used to dance and used to take me with them.”

The youngsters’ proud mum, Makaila Bryant, 42, of Plumberow Avenue, Hockley, recalled how their gran first encouraged them to try out ballroom dancing.

Now she has had her work cut out getting them to dance classes at the Western Dance Centre, Hadleigh, each week. She said: “They can’t all go together due to their age difference, so I am there six days a week taking them to their respective classes. Mum always tried to get them to do ballroom dancing, but they weren’t all that interested at first.

“Then Jasmin started street dancing and the boys got into break dancing, but after a while they felt there was only so much you could do with that sort of dance so they started doing Latin. It all went from there really. They won a few cups and then the regional finals of this competition and won at Blackpool. We are very proud of them.”

Mrs Bryant has the dancing gene as well, having been a member of a street dance group Just Krazy in her early teens. She added: “I just dance socially really, but it must be in the blood.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Smith won her competition with a 15-year-old dance partner when she was 59. She added: “I used to dance and then stopped for a while. I went back to it when I was 48 and I am still giving private dance lessons.”

John Damljanovic, owner of Western Dance Centre, said: “We are immensely proud of all its pupils who competed at Blackpool, a total of 10 national champions and 21 finalists.”


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