The BDC Teacher's Committee Hall of Fame
Honouring the work of
Lyndon Bentley Wainwright (7 December 1919 – 2 January 2018) was a British metrologist, ballroom dancer and author. He worked at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) during World War II, and was a Chairman of the British Engineering Metrology Association.
After the war, he was a leading exhibition dancer, and one of a small group of experts who introduced Latin American dance to Britain. Wainwright wrote nine books on ballroom dancing. He received the Carl Alan Award for 1996-99, and other honours from the dance community. He was an expert on phonogram performance rights and was a member of the British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Born in Scarborough, Yorkshire in 1919, Wainwright met his first wife, Felicia (14 April 1920 – September 1993), in 1940, and they soon started to train as a ballroom dance couple. They married in 1943, the year they first gave a dance exhibition for payment. After taking coaching from Monsieur Pierre, they started to compete as a professional couple. In 1948 they won the Premier Prix in a World's Professional Eight Dance Ballroom championship, staged in Paris.
The couple then specialised in the Latin dances and helped to introduce these dance forms to the British public. The partnership was billed as Lyndon & Felicia for their dance exhibitions, which were given in clubs, ballrooms, restaurants, celebrations and on television. On BBC tv, they appeared with the Edmundo Ros Orchestra, and Victor Silvester's BBC Dancing Club, dancing rumba, samba, paso doble and mambo. Between 1950 and 1960, the pair were probably the leading exhibition dancers of Latin American style in England. At their peak, they were presenting over 400 shows a year, often several times at different venues on a Sunday, and they also ran dance studios in Kingston, Ewell and Purley in Greater London. They were engaged to perform every alternate Dancers' Night for a year at the Hammersmith Palais
Many years later, the BBC invited Lyndon to take part in a television documentary Last Man at the Palais dealing with the history of the Hammersmith Palais. The Palais had opened in 1919 as a dance hall and entertainment venue, and finally closed in 2007. With a fellow professional, Lyndon danced a waltz, which was the last dance shown on the televised program, first screened on BBC Four on Christmas Eve 2007.
After his dance partnership and marriage ended in 1960, Wainwright devoted himself to teaching, writing and the administrative side of the dance world. He was Executive Councillor, Hon. Treasurer, and Company Secretary of the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA). He served as a delegate to the British Dance Council and as founder and Hon Secretary of its Teachers' Committee, and on the Council for Dance Education and Training, and the Central Council of Physical Recreation. He was an acknowledged expert in the Performing and Phonographic Rights involved in playing music in public. For over 50 years he contributed articles to dance magazines such as Dance Teacher (now Dance International), Ballroom Dancing Times (now Dance Today), and Dance Expression. Wainwright also wrote articles for the Daily Mirror.
The dance profession has honoured Lyndon for his services to dance. In 1996 and 1999 he received the Carl Alan Award, in 1998 the Classique de Danse, in 2000 the President's Award of the Ballroom Dancers' Federation, and in 2005 the Distinguished Service Award of the IDTA.
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