Anthony Hurley was born on September 13, 1939, in Walton on Thames, Surrey, London. His father, Richard, was an engineer and his mother, Mikki, a stage dancer. When Anthony was young, his mother opened a dancing school, becoming his first dance teacher.
Anthony started to dance ballroom at the age of six. With his first dance partner, Pamela Curtis, they won Junior Star Championships in London in 1954. As Pamela began to grow so tall, Anthony had to look for a new partner. His coach at the time, Hugh Carter, suggested that they take a train trip up to Nottingham to have a tryout with Fay Saxton.
Fay appeared on the stage at the age of three, taking ballet and tap lessons at first and afterward continued with ballroom dancing, winning the Junior Star Championships in 1951 with her partner Tony Collard. Age then made Tony ineligible for junior competitions and Fay was without a partner.
Although Fay was more than two years older than Anthony, the tryout worked well. In a recent interview Anthony confessed that there was a bit of chemistry between them already at the first tryout. Fay moved to London and they started to dance and compete together. In 1960, they already won the British Amateur Ballroom Championship and repeated the victory in 1961. Anthony was one of the youngest Amateur champions ever.
Anthony and Fay married in 1960, and their daughter Cherry was born in 1961. Soon after, they returned to the dancing scene as professionals.
They were champions of every major championship, with some of their titles being:
- 1971, 72 & 73 UK Open Professional Ballroom Champions
- 1971, 72 & 73 European Professional Ballroom Champions
- 1969, 70, 71 & 72 British Professional Ballroom Champions
- 1971 & 72 World Professional Ballroom Champions
Throughout their career, they were trained and coached first by Wally Fryer and Victor Barret, followed by other great pioneers of Ballroom dancing - Henry Kingston (a great choreographer, inventor of Pepperpot in Quickstep), Sonny Binick, Josephine Bradley, Phyllis Haylor, Frank Ford and Eric Hancox. As Anthony states, their coaches not only believed in them but also guided them in developing their unique style of dancing.
They retired from competitive dancing in 1973 and opened the studio in Guilford where they continued to teach intensively for many years. They were demonstrating until 1976 and continued lecturing at various congresses around the globe.
Anthony and Fay Hurley received prestigious Carl Alan Awards in 1969 and 1971. Anthony was also Chairman of the Ballroom Faculty of ISTD, and he is an Honorary president of BDF and BDFI.
John Kimmins, Anthony Hurley and Greg Smith, the Chairman of BDFI
Moving to Australia in 2001, Anthony and Fay embraced a quieter life. Tragically, Fay passed away on November 20, 2022. Despite the loss, Anthony maintains a positive spirit with support from his daughter Cherrie, granddaughter Tash and two great-grandsons.
Anthony and Fay Hurley have left an indelible mark on the Ballroom world, inspiring many. A recent interview with Anthony, available on Spotify's "Barbara's Dance Room," delves into his life journey, expertise on Slow Waltz characteristics, coaching skills and more.
Source of information
Brigitt Mayer-Karakis, U.H. Mayer - "Ballroom Icons"
Ballroom Dancing Times, November 1973 edition, article by Graham Perkins