Royston girl’s near miss in Strictly Come Dancing

A DANCER from Royston came close to victory at a Strictly Come Dancing Style competition last week.

Tara Prior, a teacher at the Stephanie Prior School of Dancing in Royston, took part in the national Tesco Does Strictly competition held at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre last Thursday, and despite being given near perfect marks from the judges, was pipped to the prize by a different duo of dancers.

Tara was partnered with Matt Willis, a Tesco employee from Luton, and they were given nines and tens from the panel, which included current Strictly judge Alesha Dixon.

However, as the winners were decided on audience votes, they fell short to a pair that brought many supporters along.

Tara said: “The evening was fantastic and we had an amazing time it was just fantastic and I loved every second of it.

“We don’t know where we came as they only announced first place. We didn’t win but according to the audience reaction we certainly should have done.

“Unfortunately it was based on audience vote and nothing else so it was always going to be about numbers of people that you had in the audience supporting you.

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“The girl who won, despite getting 4s and 5s from the judges, had half the audience there supporting her so there was a lot of tactical voting going on.”

Tara’s was contacted by Tesco at the end of September after they had been told she was a good dancer. They explained the competition to her and asked her to take the ‘professional’ role in the show, with her partner taking the ‘celebrity’ position.

“I was lucky enough that someone had heard of me, and for the status of the school I had to take up the challenge,” she said.

“After the show, rather embarrassingly, everyone kept coming up to us telling us we should have won - including the girl who did win. “In some ways it made it worse for Matt because I think then he really realised he should have got it, but it was a fantastic evening and above all we had a fabulous time and raised loads of money for charity.”

All money raised form the event was donated to Tesco charity Clic Sargent, which cares for young people with cancer.