About Karen & Conrad
From Gloria to Glory..
For Karen and Conrad, the owners of Karen Hardy Dance Studios, dancing is more than just a way of life, it is a passion.
Learning to dance and continuing to improve is more than just a way of spending time they insist, it is an inspirational journey. But most of all what they realised is that for most people dancing is above all, fun.
So how did the couple, who have both been in the ballroom for more than 30 years, take the huge step from being very successful dancers to owning the UK’s leading luxury dance studio in a prestigious west London venue…
THE “HUNNIFORD EFFECT”
A few years ago while on the set of Strictly Come Dancing, TV legend Gloria Hunniford – caught up in the ‘Strictly’ moment – popped the question.
Karen explained: “Reality really hit home when one day Gloria asked me where her friends could go and learn to dance as she was having so much fun and her friends wanted to also.”
“I couldn’t see Gloria’s friends attending the famous Pineapple studios in London or the ‘spit and sawdust’ studios I had grown up in.” And that was the epiphany.
Fast-forward a few years to 2008 and it was mission accomplished.
The doors of Karen Hardy Dance Studios opened among the dazzling glare of photographer’s flashbulbs, an impressive ensemble of celebrities and the regal hue of the red carpet.
Luxurious in style and with a welcoming atmosphere, the Karen Hardy Dance Studios has since become THE place to discover, enjoy and perfect the beautiful art form that is, Ballroom dancing.
We are immensely proud to say that we have made a difference to peoples’ lives.
From busy mums to high-flying business executives, our bespoke Ballroom dance lessons have made so many people happy.
Thank you Gloria.
About Karen Hardy
Karen’s philosophy is simple; “If you are willing to learn you will improve and the most important rule of all is to remember that practice makes perfect”
It is this persistence, dedication and commitment to dancing that led Karen on to become the number one ranked performer in Latin American Dance, winning a series of world class dance accolades along the way.
Her Ballroom honours include winning the International Latin American Dance Championship (with Bryan Watson), the UK Open, British National, European and World Masters Championships.
Karen began dancing at the age of five and at sixteen she made the tough decision to pursue dancing as a career instead of completing higher education.
After a successful stint competing in the USA as an amateur, Karen then returned to her homeland and began picking up more trophies.
Having turned professional in 1994, she partnered with Bryan Watson, and enjoyed her best years on the circuit – the pair were named ‘the most outstanding professional Latin American couple for 1995/96’, by the Ballroom Dancers Federation.
They latterly received the prestigious Carl Alan award for “services to the dance world”, before Karen announced her retirement as a competitive dancer in 1999.
Then in 2005 Karen was contacted by the BBC to join Strictly Come Dancing and she was back where she belonged once more, on the dance floor.
In her first year on the show, she partnered BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull and she also competed in the Strictly Come Dance Christmas Show in tandem with heavyweight boxer Evander Holyfield. The following year Karen was crowned Strictly Champion following an astonishing match up with former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash.
Now 8 years on, Karen continues to juggle life as a popular TV personality, adjudicator of the worlds most prestigious dance competitions, teacher and company director… not forgetting, doting mother of her two beautiful boys!
About Conrad Murray
Conrad owns Karen Hardy Dance Studios with his wife Karen, and is himself, a successful dancer.
He was born and raised in New Zealand around dance and is the son of a dance school owner.
But even though his Mother taught people to dance, it was very much his “own decision” to take to the dancefloor at a very young age.
As a dancer Conrad was successful, very successful and he won the New Zealand Open Latin American and Ballroom Championship at both Juvenile and Junior Level.
He also triumphed in the New Zealand Open Latin American at Youth level, and represented his country at the World Open Amateur Championships on two occasions.
Conrad, also a keen rugby player and cricketer, picks out Latin American as his favourite dance style and relishes performing the Cha-cha-cha and Jive.
When asked once about the rugby/dancing combination, Conrad, a self-proclaimed “extrovert”, described Ballroom Dancing as a wonderful way to “show off” his hard-fought skills.
And why does Conrad think that Karen Hardy Dance Studios is second-to-none, when it comes to learning to dance: “We provide a warm and welcoming environment with friendly faces. Quite often other dance schools can be dark and dingy, or very intimidating, but Karen Hardy Dance Studios offers an amazing sprung dance floor with superior features in a great location.”
In a world where personal interactions are often interrupted by constantly developing technology, Karen Hardy Dance Studios is on a mission to preserve those priceless, personal interactions. We are here to share with our clients how to communicate by movement through music, through dance.
In our daily work, we will strive to uphold the rare and most sought after lifestyle that Ballroom dancing has to offer, and we will always present Ballroom dancing in its most glamorous and luxurious way that it deserves.
Our team of top notch dance professionals will be recognized and praised for their knowledge and exceptional service, always oriented towards meeting the needs of our clients.
Karen Hardy Dance Studios through fun, glamour, luxury and lifestyle will ensure the longevity of Ballroom dancing… long into the future.