The Glitzy Ballroom Dancers of Thatcher's Dingy Britain


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The Glitzy Ballroom Dancers of Thatcher's Dingy Britain

Sequins! Sequins! Sequins!

This article originally appeared on VICE France

At the end of the 1970s Britain's ballroom dance craze was in full swing, brought on by the BBC's Come Dancing – the predecessor to Strictly, only with normies rather than celebs. Like ballroom dancing itself, the show was deeply kitsch – all glittery, sequinned dresses and Edwina Currie haircuts. The show's viewers were encouraged to partake in ballroom dancing competitions themselves – and many did.


As a photographer, I've always been interested in visually striking imagery, which is why, in 1979, I decided to document the non-professional dancers devoting their life to ballroom. I quickly became absolutely fascinated with this hobby, in all its shiny, sequinned glory. I loved seeing these people get immaculately dressed up, from their outfits down to their hair and nails.

Getting the project together took me about nine months in total. I didn't know anyone in the scene, so in order to meet dancers I just had to visit the small English towns in Surrey, Berkshire and Oxfordshire where these competitions were being held.

I realised that these dancers' lives completely revolved around their hobby. They worked long days at their jobs and and had rehearsals every night. Their weekends were all about the competitions, for which they travelled around the country and sometimes even went abroad. Still, they were all very friendly to me, and doing this project was a wonderful experience.