Nicola LaffertyI started dancing when I was only 2 – the usual story of dancing before I could walk! I always remember dance being a part of my life. I continued studying dance throughout my school years, concentrating on Ballet, Tap, Modern & Jazz and doing other styles including Highland, Majorettes, Disco. When I was 9 I was asked to dance in a local production of The King & I, and this was the start of my love of Musical Theatre.
As I got older I was lucky enough to be able to dance in some of Scotland’s top theatres in productions such as 42nd Street, Carousel, Fame, Barnum and Oliver. On leaving school, I made the decision to go to University and study for a degree in Classics, while at the same time to continue dancing in shows. It was in my 3rd year at University and I was dancing in the stage production of Singing In The Rain. I took ill during the production, and rather than doing the sensible thing and taking the rest of the show off, I continued with the run, and in the process contracted a viral form of Scarlet Fever, which resulted in me having to take nearly a year off from dancing.
It was my Mum who suggested to me that the local line dance class would be a good way to ease myself gently back into dancing, at which point I laughed and made the usual typical comments about line dancing being all ‘yee ha’ and cowboy hats. However, after a couple more weeks, even this sounded like a better option than not dancing at all.
I went to my first line dance class and was literally hooked. I learned American Pie, Black Coffee and Walk The Line and couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. From there on, it was from 1 class a week to 2, to 3 and eventually someone suggested that I would enjoy competing. From there I entered my first line dance competition. I didn’t even place, but came away from that competition wanting to do and learn more.
I approached Rob Fowler and asked if he would be willing to train me, and luckily he said yes! From there I went on to compete and win numerous British & European Line Dance titles, but never won a World title. After a few years of competing, and getting more and more nervous every time, I decided to stop competing and concentrate on coaching other young competitors and also began judging. I began judging with multiple line dance organisations.
A few years ago I decided to begin competing again, this time in the Country Couples Pro-Pro division with American Masters dancer Ronnie DeBenedetta. This is where 2 professional dancers dance together, with only one being judged (in this case me!). I was lucky enough to win a World title and in January 2010 I became the Female Pro Pro World Champion. Since then, I have won 6 World titles with Ronnie, including four consecutive wins in the Spotlight division. My favourite routine in this division has been a WCS routine to ‘Need You Now’ by Lady Antebellum.
I now continue to work for World Dance Masters in my role as Co-Owner and Competition Director, this involves picking the competition dances and music; working on the rules and liaising with the other Directors to run Masters events all over the world. I also do a lot of technique workshops all over Europe. Working for Masters I have had the opportunity to travel all over the UK, Europe, South Africa and Australia. A very special trip for me was to South Africa in 2011, where I saw first-hand the fruits of the ‘World of Difference’ campaign supported by Linedancer Magazine, where kids from all sorts of disadvantaged backgrounds benefitted from the generosity of dancers from the UK and Europe.
I am also co-choreographer and coach with CountryVive and love getting to work with all the very talented dancers in the team. I feel very privileged to get to dance as my full time career and I am lucky to get to travel the world doing something that I love so much. It’s all thanks to line dance!