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The Executive Committee members

Public Relations Officer (Vacant)
Alejandro Hernandez, Membership Organiser

Alejandro Hernandez

I was born in Valencia, Spain and moved to England at the age of 19 to further my dance career.

 

I have represented Great Britain since that time. My greatest achievements include:

 

– Semi finalist in the British Open and International Championships

– Rising Star finalist at the International Championships

– Representing Great Britain at the British Open Team Match

 

Since retiring, I am now privileged  to be teaching, lecturing and adjudicating nationally and internationally.

John Durrant, Assistant Secretary

John Durrant

Joined the BDF Executive Committee in 2010 and currently Assistant Secretary.

Former Senior competitor in both Latin American and Ballroom competitions. Former Senior All England Latin American Champion. Finalist in the British Open, British National and International Latin American Championships. Represented England in both Latin American and Ten Dance competitions.

Previous dance profession involvement was as a Board Director and Vice Chairman of South East National Dance Agency and a Board member of the English Amateur Dancing Association.

Currently also Trustee and Hon. Secretary of the Dancers’ Forget-Me-Not Fund.

David Douglass, Committee Member
David Douglass

Now Marquis of Sandford, Lord David Edward Douglass since 2009

Titles previously held:
World Amateur Latin World Champion;
3 x Amateur World 10 Dance Champion;
2 x Professional World 10 Dance Champion;
British Open (1), International (2), Uk Open (2) x Amateur Latin Champion;
3 x Duel of Giants International Exhibition Champion;
Member of both the British Amateur & Professional team Ballroom & Latin;

Have Adjudicated & Coached in every Scandinavian & European Country
Plus USA –Japan & Hong Kong

Fellow & Examiner of the Allied

Founder Member of the DPA And committee Member today.
E/C Member of the original BDF Committee
E/C Member of todays BDF Committee
BDC delegate for DPA & the Allied & BDF at various times over the years
IPAC delegate for the Allied

Craig Draper, Committee Member

Craig Draper

Craig has started dancing from the age of 8 years old, having a successful Juvenile, Junior and Youth carrier. Winning almost all possible titles in his age categories.

Juvenile, Junior and Youth British Open Ballroom Champion
Junior and Youth British Closed Ballroom Champion
UK Closed Youth Latin Champion

Progressing onto his Amateur career Craig represented Russia at start, winning the Russian National and Russian Open Championships, later returning to represent his home country. Competing as a top Ballroom Amateur competitor in the world he’s been constantly placed in the top six at all major events. Such as making the finals at the World, European, British Open, International and UK Open Championships, as well as winning British National and UK Closed Championships.

Upon turning Professionals Craig became 3 times UK Closed Ballroom Champion, Runner-up of British National Championships, British National Show Dance Champion, Semi-finalist of British Open and International Championships.

Since his retirement from competing, he became highly respected international adjudicator and teacher around the world.

Damian Evans, Committee Member

Damian Evans

Damian began dancing Ballroom & Latin at the age of 14, at the Merralls School of Dancing on the Wirral, progressing quickly through the ranks to becoming one of the top youth competitors in both Ballroom and Latin in the country. He won 3rd place in the British National Youth Latin Championships, UK Closed Youth Ballroom Winner, and Semi Finalist in both Ballroom and Latin at the Open British Youth. As a Youth competitor he travelled extensively throughout Europe representing Wales.

Damian moved to London at age 22 to specialise in Latin with his then Danish partner, and soon entered the top 24 couples in the world at the International, British Open, Worlds and UK Open Championships. Later living in Perth Australia, he became the Lion City, West Australian, Victorian Champion and was Vice Champion in Australian and Australasian Championships, and 16th in the Open British Latin Championships. He also went on to represent Australia at the World Championships in Oslo 1990

In 1994 Damian started representing Canada with his now wife, Clara. Together they became the top ranked Amateur Latin couple in North America. He turned professional in 1996 and was fortunate to be accepted to join the world renowned competitive dance studio, Dance Options. Whilst continuing his competitive career, he was being trained by some of the most prestigious and well respected teachers in dance. In 1998 Damian qualified professionally, and is now recognized by the International Dance Teachers Association becoming a Fellow in 2010, the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, and the United Kingdom Alliance.

Together both Damian and Clara were UK Closed Professional Latin Finalists, and Vice Champions at the British and Irish South American Showdance Championships. They were also, British South American Showdance Representatives at the World Championships in 2001 & 2002.

They now run the very successful dance school Caterham Dance School, offering coaching to many competitive couples.
Damian has judged and taught extensively throughout the World including the prestigious Junior Open British Festival, International Latin Championships, British National Championships and the WDC AL World Championships.

He has served as Treasurer of the BCDC for 5 years, and has sat on the BDF EC since 2018.

Lynn Harman, Committee Member

Lynn Harman

Lynn Harman F.I.D.T.A
Former World Professional Latin American Champion
Former British Open Professional Ballroom Finalist
Director of Dance Options

Lynn started dancing firstly through the medal test system progressing to competitions at the tender age of 11.

With her partner Peter Maxwell she became Triple Open British Junior Ballroom and Latin American Champion winning her first title at the age of 13 (a record that has never been equalled), continuing on to become Youth Ballroom and Latin American Champion by the age of 16 and at 22 won both the British Amateur Ballroom/ Latin Championships and the World Latin American Championship.

Having won all other major titles in both disciplines in 1974 Lynn turned Professional.

Her professional achievements included representing Great Britain in the British Open Professional Team Match, being winner of the World Cup 10 Dance, a finalist in the British Open Professional Ballroom Championship and winner of the World and British Open Latin American Championships.

Following her very early retirement in 1979 Lynn has judged all major events including World and European Championships and now concentrates on teaching others to follow in her footsteps. Having been the founder with her co-owners of the now world famous Dance Options Cheam, one of her proudest moments was the opening of the studio in 1993.

Stephen Hillier MBE, Committee Member

Stephen Hillier MBE

Stephen has been a member of the BDF since 1979, and has served on the committee since 1990. 

      Starting to dance at the age of 7, Stephen competed as a Juvenile, Junior, Youth and Amateur, before turning Professional in 1979.  He was successful in winning the World Amateur Ballroom Championship in 1978, and also the British Open Amateur Ballroom Championship in 1978 and 1979. He then went on to win the British Open Professional  Ballroom Championship in 1986,87, and 88, and the World Championship in the same years.

As an amateur, Stephen took a strong interest in the affairs of Ballroom Dancing and was elected onto the committee of the British Amateur Dancers Association in the early seventies. 

He has initiated many changes to the world of Ballroom Dancing and contributed in many ways to the success of the BDF for 30 years.

In 2009 Stephen was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle.  It was awarded for services to Ballroom Dancing, and in particular to his charity work in setting up the Dance Sport Foundation, which raised thousands of pounds to support young British dancers.

One of his proudest achievements is the formation and organisation of the BDF National Congress which was started in 2009, and is held at the British National Championships, in Blackpool every year.  The congress is free of charge, and everyone attending the festival is invited to attend.

Stephen teaches with his wife Jennifer at JJ’s Dance Studios in Beckenham, and they will continue to work tirelessly to improve all aspects of British Ballroom Dancing.

Oleksii Ivanets, Committee Member

Oleksii Ivanets

Amateur Career:
Under 21 Ukrainian National Champion,
5  x United Kingdom Closed Amateur Latin Champion,
Semi-finalist British Open Amateur Latin.

Professional Career:
4 x United Kingdom (Closed ) Professional Latin and British National Latin American Show Dance Champion,
5 x European Professional Latin Semi Finalist,
British Open Semi Finalist in Professional Latin

Pamela McGill, Committee Member

Pamela McGill

I started to dance at the age of 10, commencing with Ballet. After 2 years began attending Saturday morning dance classes for Ballroom and Latin American dancing at the famous Hammersmith Palais, achieving highly commended in medals and awards. From there it was decided to dance on the ‘open circuit’ as juvenile and subsequently junior, becoming a 10 dance champion.

I continued to dance in the Amateur ranks with great success. Then, turning professional at the age of 19, I danced my way round the world on cruise ships giving cabaret performances as well as teaching classes and private lessons on board.

From there I teamed up with one of the greatest dancers of that time, now sadly deceased, Geoffrey Clapham, and together our main achievement was to win the Rising Star Latin American Championships at Blackpool in 1975, as well as many other titles in the UK and abroad. With Geoffrey I embarked upon my teaching career, coaching and lecturing all over the world. To this day I have continued my love of teaching all levels from juvenile to senior, and novice to professional in many countries throughout the World.

I am on the Executive Committee of the BDF which is an organisation that recognises the importance of nurturing the talent of young dancers. We also organise major competitions throughout the year. In addition the BDF organise training camps for Youth, Amateur and Senior Competitors.

I am married to Richard who is the Manager of Dance Options and in my spare time I enjoy playing golf and cooking at home.

Co-Opted Committee Members
Nicole Cutler, Co-Opted Committee Member

I was born in Durban, South Africa and started dancing at the age of
12. I moved to the UK in 1990 to further my dance studies and was
Open British Youth Amature Latin Vice Champion in 1992.
In 1994 I partnered with Matthew Cutler and the rest as they say is
history.
2 x Open British, International, UK Open, World, European, British
National & UK Closed Amature Latin Champion as well as all
Amature Latin American titles worldwide.
Professional Latin American Finalist 200-2004
In 1999 I was a principle dancer on the original stage show Burn the
Floor.
2 x recipient of the Carl Alan Award for outstanding contributions to
dance.
I have taken part in 3 series of Strictly Come Dancing, the Strictly
Come Dancing Live Tour and danced on the original Come Dancing
series. As well as taking part various TV & stage shows.
Since retiring I have concentrated on my teaching career & it has
become my passion to pass on my knowledge and love of dance to
others.
I have been honoured with the privilege to adjudicate all major dance
titles and I am very fortunate to be asked to teach and lecture all over
the world.

Matthew Cutler, Co-Opted Committee Member

Matthew started dancing at the at the age of 8
years old at a local church hall in Southend on
Sea. He went through his medals and started
competing in small local competitions. At the age
of 10 he decided to take dancing a bit more
seriously and started to compete in open
competitions. The rest is history.
Titles achieved
Matthew has twice received the Carl Alan Award
for an outstanding contribution to dance.
Professional
• Strictly Come Dancing champion (partnered
with singer Alesha Dixon), 2007
• World, Open British, International and UK
Professional Latin finalist, 2000 – 2005
• International Professional Latin finalist, 2004
• World and European Professional Latin
finalist, 2005
• British Closed Professional Latin Champion,
2004
• UK Closed Professional Latin Champion,
2000, 2002, 2004, 2005
• World Masters Professional Latin Champion,
2000
Amateur
• UK Open Amateur Champion 2000
• Open British Amateur Champions 1997,
1999
• World, European & International Amateur
Champion 1999
• Closed British Amateur Champions 1995,
1996, 1997, 1999
• Closed UK Amateur Champions 1995, 1996,
1997, 1998, 1999
• Dutch Open Amateur Latin Champions 1998,
1999
• South African Open Amateur Champions
1990, 1994
Strictly Come Dancing
In series 7 of Strictly Come Dancing, Matthew
Cutler partners Martina Hingis.
In series 6 of Strictly Come Dancing, Matthew
Cutler partnered Christine Bleakley. Matthew and
Christine ended up fifth.
Matthew Cutler, who partnered Siobhan Hayes in
Strictly Come Dancing series 3 has a strong record
in dance competitions, but was unfortunately voted
off in the first week.
In the fourth series of Strictly Come Dancing,
Matthew Cutler partnered Carol Smillie. They got
as far as the ninth show, but in spite of receiving
their best scores of the series, they were voted off.
In the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing,
Matthew Cutler was paired with Alesha Dixon and
they beat Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace to
take the Strictly Come Dancing title.
Random Fact: Len Goodman was a judge when
Matthew Cutler won the British junior
championship