Kevin Bennion has been dancing for 67 years and has taught hundreds of north Brisbane residents over the past 60 years.
Mr Bennion was just 16 years old when he attended an end of year high school dance.
I did ask a girl to dance with me but it took me half the night to pluck up the courage to walk over and ask her. I stood on her toes so many times. I was happy when the music stopped. “Shortly after that terrible night I attended Len Hourigan Dance Studio in Fortitude Valley with a mate to learn to dance (without standing on a girls toes) I concentrated on New Vogue before I started Modern Ballroom. Six months on and I felt like yelling out “I’m dancing” I felt like I was dancing like the movie where Gene Kelly was dancing with Jerry the mouse. Unfortunately I was not like Gene Kelly, I was more like Jerry. Within 3 years I became undefeated Queensland Champion.
My next goal was Modern Ballroom. I went to another Studio in the Valley and I found the way I was taught New Vogue complemented the Modern Ballroom style. Len Hourigan, my first teacher was ahead of his time. Looking back, he was teaching me to be a good professional.
I turned Professional in January 1956 and invaded Nundah by hiring the Nundah Memorial Hall. I commenced social dance classes on Monday night and within three years had a total of one hundred and ninety eight pupils with thirty boys and thirty girls on my amateur staff.
Those were the days you had to be twenty one years of age to go into a hotel. The only other option was to go to the movies or a dance so all studios were well attended.
Once I turned professional there was the study of correct technique and everything required to become a qualified teacher. I studied for and successfully obtained my Associate Member and Fellow Degree in Modern Ballroom, New Vogue and Latin dancing in four of the highly acclaimed dancing associations in Australia.
In my spare time I became involved in exhibition dancing. Today known as Cabaret style which is like Modern Contemporary Ballet, using lifts in appropriate places relative to the music. I did my own choreography for all our numbers and placed second in the World Championships in Melbourne in 1962.
Dancing has kept me feeling young. I still run my class every Friday night and keep active through the week with teaching and have had a lot of fun and a sense of satisfaction out of teaching (from eight years old school children to secondary school students) over many years.”