THE line dancing talents of a Hartlepool mum saw her unexpectedly land a role in hit TV show George Gently.
Super dance teacher Hayley Wheatley – who is on a crusade to bring line dancing to Hartlepool and also raise money for charity – also found the time to star in an episode of the nationally-loved telly drama starring actor Martin Shaw.
The 30-year-old, who teaches the dance style to people of all ages across the country and will also be teaching in Norway, Germany, Japan and France over the next two years, was contacted by a friend who was working on the set of George Gently.
The mum-of-three thought she would just be helping out teaching a few of the steps but ended up actually in the show in a background role as a dance teacher.
She said: “I got a telephone call from a friend who asked me to join him on set. I thought I was going to be helping out with a scene of line dancing, but I was asked to be the teacher in the show and ended up in the stars’ trailer next to Emma Cooney, who has also been in Dr Who and other shows!”
She said: “It was brilliant, a bit surreal and I also got to meet Martin Shaw. I haven’t been given a date of when it’s going to be on yet, but it’s an episode in the next series.”
But while Hayley is not brushing shoulders with the stars, her main love is teaching line-dancing and re-establishing it as a fashionable form of dance. This is despite her once vowing to never follow in the footsteps of her mum Judith Kennedy, who was also a line-dance teacher.
Hayley, who is mum to Luke, nine, Ella, eight, and Ava, three, said: “I got into line dancing because my mam taught it for 20 years. I said that I would never do that ‘old-fashioned, old people dancing’, and now it’s my career!
“I’m a full-time line dancer and I’m going to Norway and Germany to teach it as well.”
She added: “I’m hoping to bring line dancing back to the town. I travel all over the place and see a lot of enthusiasm for it, but that seems to have wavered in Hartlepool. I want to make sure there are classes for people in the town, and show that it’s not just about old country music which a lot of people associate it with.
“There is line dancing to suit all genres of music including hip-hop and rock n’ roll.
“It’s for people of all ages including children.”
Charitable Hayley, who used to teach a range of dancing styles before giving it up to focus on line dancing, has organised a fundraising line-dancing night to rake in cash for the rare condition Lupus which causes joint and muscle pain, and extreme fatigue and weakness, among other symptoms.
The event, which is suitable for both adults and children, is being held on February 7, in the Owton Manor Social Club, in Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, from 7pm. No previous line dancing experience is necessary.