Dance teacher dies after receiving top award

Hemel Hempstead dance teacher Betty Bouston has died.
Hemel Hempstead dance teacher Betty Bouston has died.

A dance teacher and nationally celebrated patron of ballroom died while visiting Blackpool.

Betty Bouston, of Berkhamsted, took a trip to the mecca of ballroom dancing to receive the prestigious Carl Alan award for a Lifetime Achievement in Dance.

The 79-year-old was discovered dead in her hotel room on Monday, October 15 - two days after receiving the accolade at the Blue Box Hotel.

Ms Bouston, who would have celebrated her 80th birthday on December 4, started dancing at the age of just three in north London, later becoming one half of one of the country’s top ballroom dance couples. At the end of her competitive career Ms Bouston, of Bridge Court, was the five times undefeated Herts Ballroom Champion.

Her work as an examiner and adjudicator for the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance took her all over the world and she also ran the Betty Bouston Dance School at the Carey Baptist Church in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, for almost half a century.

At the end of her life she was still active as a teacher of ballroom and Latin, as well as freestyle disco.

Pupil and close friend Yvonne Metcalf said: “If there is any humour to be had - she was teaching to the very end - I did the cha-cha-cha with her for an hour on the Thursday before she died and she was still able to tell me how wrong I was getting it.”

Her pupils, both children and adults, took part in competitions throughout the country with considerable success and three of her adult students will be competing in the Imperial Grand Finals at Blackpool this weekend.

Ms Bouston’s funeral will be held at the Carey Baptist Church on Wednesday, November 7, from midday. Flowers or donations to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, c/o Worley Funeral Directors, Lawn Lane, Hemel Hempstead.

Her dance classes are continuing as normal under the direction of Robert Bullock, who both studied and taught alongside Ms Bouston for many years.