A prominent Hastings singer, dancer and teacher is hanging up her ballet shoes and retiring after dedicating her life to the arts.
Wendy Cameron, 73, who ran the Wendy Cameron Academy of Dancing at Ore Community Centre for 30 years started out as a dancer at the tender age of three.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Wendy became a pupil at the Phyllis Godfrey School of Dancing and went on to win medals in most of the classes she entered at Hastings festivals and was crowned All England Champion on four occasions.
On leaving Phyllis Godfrey aged 16, Wendy had gained many additional accolades including National Association membership with Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) with distinction.
Wendy’s talents were recognised by the Madame Legat of the Russian ballet Legat school in Goudhurst and she was offered a free place. Aged 19, Wendy left with an Advanced Russian Ballet certificate and so entered her professional dancing career.
Wendy achieved all this, and more, despite having cataracts during her childhood which rendered her visually impaired.
Wendy spent 20 years in the theatre as a choreographer, singer and principle dancer, appearing in musicals, operas and films, performing alongside top entertainers of the time, including Dame Judi Dench, Ken Dodd, Tommy Steele and Mike Yarwood.
Aged 38, a back injury sustained during a performance on stage at Eastbourne’s Hippodrome Theatre, left Wendy with a fracture to the top of her spine, effectively ending her dancing career. But Wendy’s love affair with dancing did not end there. She was invited to teach at the Arts Educational School and adjudicated at many festivals before opening her own school at Hyde Park and Victoria in London prior to opening the school in Hastings in the early 1980s.
Wendy taught thousands of pupils over the years with many going on to excel in their dancing careers. This includes performing in West End theatres, opening their own schools, or being snatched up by prominent ballet schools around the world such as the Kirov Royal Academy of Ballet, following in the footsteps of the great Russian ballet dancer, Rudolf Nureyev.
Wendy says she is proud not only of all she has achieved personally but also for those she has taught. She said: “I love dancing. It’s been my life. I have tried to give others that same feeling from within. There are brilliant dance technicians nowadays but it’s the whole body that dances. The art of performing, and to be a good dancer, is also what you feel inside. I’ve tried to give that feeling to every child - to learn how to express themselves, that’s what I’m here for. I feel very proud of them all. I had a great good time and I hope my pupils feel the same.
“Thank you to all the parents and pupils who have supported me over the years. I hope they will go on and achieve success.” Wendy plans to continue with the annual Ore Stage Festival which will be held at the Milligan Theatre in Rye in May 2015.