ABOUT COLLEEN M. MURRAY

FSATD, FNZFTD, FFATD, AISTD (Eng) Qualified Scrutineer, International and IDSF Adjudicator

Colleen MurrayColleen Mary Murray was born in Lewisham, London on 19 November 1947, and the only child of Robert and Mary Gray. Colleen was educated at Sir William Worsley Secondary Modern School, Grangetown, Teesside, England.

At twelve years of age, Colleen joined the Phil Whitcomb Dance School, Southbank, Teesside, where she began learning English Old Time and Ballroom Dancing. At fifteen Colleen's interest in Latin American Dancing began at the Smith & Jaques School of Dancing (Operated by Alan and Hazel Smith) in Billingham, Teesside. Then life in the Big City got the better of Colleen and off she went to live in London where Colleen continued to dance, until she met her future husband Ian, and all thoughts of dancing stopped. Colleen married Ian and gave birth to Damian in 1970.

In 1971 Colleen decided she would like to meet her husband's parents who lived in New Zealand. The family packed their bags and moved to New Zealand. Oh! What a cultural shock, from life in the big city, it felt like going back in time, but life went on and in 1973 Colleen gave birth to another son, Conrad. However, the lure of dancing proved too much, and in 1976 Colleen took up dancing again by answering an advertisement placed in a local paper by Mr. Doug Henderson (a prodigy of the late Henry Jaques) advertising for people to train as Dance Teachers, at The Continental School Of Dance in Christchurch, New Zealand. Here she studied Standard, Latin American, New Vogue and English Old Time Dancing to Fellowship level. Where, Colleen continues to study there to this day.

In 1979 Colleen started teaching social dancing one day a week in Rangiora, North Canterbury, New Zealand, where she met John and Joyce Jones, who wanted to continue with their dancing and for their sons Richard, Philip and Paul to learn to dance. Incidentlly, John & Joyce hailed from the same area in Teeside, and they also started their dancing with Phil Whitcomb.

At the request of the Jones family, Colleen started training people for Medal tests. Then, after attending a competition and demonstration by Doug Newton and Candy Lane, The Jones' Family, decided they would like to try competition dancing Hence the birth of The Colleen Murray Dance Centre.

In 1983 the Colleen Murray Dance Centre began operating in Worcester Street in the Christchurch City centre. The school stayed there until 1991, after which it moved to its present site in Cranford Street.

In 1984 Colleen trained her first New Zealand Adult Latin American Champions, Philip Jones & Connie Greenep. Since then Colleen has trained numerous NZ champions and representatives in both Youth and Adult grades. As well as this, she has trained the 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 New Zealand Adult A Grade Latin American Champions, and the New Zealand Latin American Youth representatives. Colleen continues to train champions many who are now living overseas and dancing under the New Zealand flag, some have returned to New Zealand and turned professional and passing on their knowledge to future generations, others teaching in other parts of the world.

Photograph by Major L. Tonkin (deceased)

Contact Us Today
Colleen Murray Dance Centre
520 Cranford Street, Papanui
Christchurch, 8051
Tel: 03 383 0317
Mobile: 021 140 2783
Email: latin1@clear.net.nz
Photo Gallery
© Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre © Colleen Murray Dance Centre