Janet Gleave started dancing when she was just a child. Her mother and father decided she ought to do something, and the norm then was children’s dancing classes. She took her medal exams, joined a formation team and made lots of friends through that. Soon, a competitive career started.
Janet danced in the Latin division with partner Ray Rouse, but they didn’t do that well Janet says. At the same time, Ray was dancing with Janet, he was also in the Frank and Peggy Spencer Formation Team. Janet wasn’t very happy with their progress in competitions and said to Ray, “I don’t think you can spend your time doing both. If you want to be successful in this, we must devote more time. You’ve got to choose between doing the competitions with me or the formation team.” He chose the formation team, and so Janet was in search for a new partner.
Janet started dancing with Richard Gleave in 1962 or 1963 and their first Blackpool Dance Festival was in 1963 or 1964. They started as Amateurs and won the Amateur Standard Championships three times.
In 1970, the couple turned Professional. The next year in Blackpool, Richard and Janet were in the final and tied for third. It was very fast that the couple would come into such a high ranking at such a fast pace since turning Professional. A little bit of good timing and luck played a part. Some of the established Professionals retired in the early 70’s which opened space in the finals.
Richard and Janet won the Standard World Championship eight times, and the British Open eight times. They won their first British Open in 1973, which was very unexpected. Anthony Hurley and Fay Saxton were the reigning champions. They’d won it four years running. It was quite exciting to win for Richard and Janet.
“It was a thrill in one way and a sadness in another… that you knock over an established champion. It was a funny feeling that night.”