Strictly Amaz­ing

I was so wor­ried that my daugh­ter’s dreams were out of reach, then my favourite TV show stepped in to help! Tracey Tyrrell, 39, Dover­court, Es­sex

Chat - - True-life Twinkle Toes -

I said she might have trou­ble keep­ing up. I was wrong!

Nes­tled on the sofa with a mug of tea, a blan­ket on my knees, I waited for a theme tune to ring out on the telly. The first episode of Strictly Come Danc­ing gave me a buzz!

My hus­band An­drew, 37, usu­ally did some­thing else!

But one evening in Septem­ber 2016, some­one else came into the lounge.

‘You should be in bed!’ I said.

My daugh­ter Au­drey, 4, grinned, then clam­bered onto my knee.

‘Please, Mummy,’ she said, eyes hope­ful. How could I re­sist?! Spell­bound, she gaw­ped at the shim­mer­ing dresses.

As she watched, I watched her – and a long-for­got­ten dream was spark­ing into life.

When I’d been preg­nant, I’d dreamt of tak­ing my daugh­ter to bal­let class.

I’d taken Au­drey as a tod­dler, but she’d strug­gled to hear the teacher over the mu­sic.

She’d been born with bi­lat­eral sen­sorineu­ral hear­ing loss, and has worn hear­ing aids from 6 weeks old, which helped her to hear bet­ter.

But here she was, hum­ming along to the mu­sic on the show.

So, every Satur­day, her nor­mal bed­time went to pot.

Snug­gled into my side as the win­ter chill bit at the win­dows, we watched Strictly to­gether.

Au­drey loved see­ing the amaz­ing cos­tumes, the dancers jiv­ing and fox­trot­ting their way across the ball­room. It sparked some­thing in her. ‘Daddy, dance with me!’ she or­dered her father one night.

An­drew lifted her up and swooped her around, nar­rowly miss­ing the Christ­mas tree!

Her favourite was the cha-chacha. Au­drey would im­i­tate the hip wig­gles she’d seen on Strictly.

See­ing her, me and An­drew thought dance lessons were worth an­other go.

‘Would you like that?’ I quizzed. ‘Yes, please!’ Au­drey beamed. So, last Jan­uary, I dropped her off at the lo­cal dance school, ex­plain­ing to the teacher why Au­drey might have dif­fi­culty keep­ing up. I needn’t have wor­ried! Within a year, Au­drey was among the top in her class.

She’d taught her­self to lip-read and body lan­guage to shimmy her way to suc­cess.

This year, her teacher Chloe, 20, sug­gested that Au­drey should take part in a com­pe­ti­tion.

So, in April, me and An­drew fol­lowed Au­drey, now 6 years old, into the com­pe­ti­tion hall.

She danced the cha-cha-cha, of course.

Af­ter all those hours spent wig­gling her hips in front of Strictly, she looked fan­tas­tic in her gor­geous rasp­berry dress.

As the fi­nal­ists were called, I was a bag of nerves.

Au­drey’s chances were slim – af­ter all, it was her first com­pe­ti­tion and Au­drey was the only deaf dancer.

Then… ‘Num­ber 59!’

Au­drey!

She was in the top six. ‘You did it, dar­ling!’ I squealed, hug­ging her. Au­drey had qual­i­fied to com­pete in the Na­tional Black­pool Grand Fi­nals.

In­cred­i­ble!

Since then, she’s gone on to win four com­pe­ti­tions. I’m so proud of her. Learn­ing to dance is no mean feat but, for our girl, it’s been twice as hard. But she’s proof you can achieve any­thing that you set your mind to. Never in my wildest dreams did I be­lieve that my girl would be shim­my­ing across a ball­room in Black­pool!

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