A Tribute to Nick Peacock, creator of Nicks Dance School, who sadly passed away in 2015.
Written in her own words by his fiancé Terri Bodell, who is now dedicated to the Dance School which will always be a legacy to Nick’s passion to teach others to learn and to love dance.
We all have our own memories of Nick.
I remember when I first met Nick at Sallianne’s dance school. My first real contact with him was when Sallianne told me to speak to him about private lessons so that I could take my dance teacher exams and become a teacher at the school. I wasn’t interested, but Sallianne was a force to be reckoned with, you didn’t say ‘no’ to her. I still remember his reply ‘I don’t teach single women, I’m sorry’ and he just walked away.
Over the next few months he began to thaw towards me and he soon offered to give me a few ‘teacher’ lessons so that I could help out at the school whilst he went to Las Vegas on holiday. And there began a beautiful dance partnership.
I began to get to know the party loving magician (sorry Nick, illusionist). He was a member of the Magic Circle and always said that he didn’t do magic tricks; they were all illusions. He fascinated not just me but others with his amazing sleight of hand. I kept saying ‘do it again, do it again’ so that I could work out how he was misleading me, but I never could work it out.We became close friends and I got to know Nick the man as well as Nick the dancer and fell in love with him. I remember him telling me he didn’t want to learn to dance in the beginning. He just wasn’t interested! He had to, like most men, be dragged along kicking and screaming by his first wife, Phillipa, back in the 1980’s. After a few weeks he was hooked. And the rest, as they say, is history.
When he started his own dance school I was only too happy to help him in any way that I could and he kept teaching me how to be a better dancer and a better teacher. Together we built Nicks Dance School into what it is today but Nick was always the driving force behind it.
As a dancer Nick excelled; as a dance teacher he excelled his pupils. He was always so gentle and patient with everyone, and he had all the time in the world to help the people who came to his school to find their own love of dance in the same way that he had done. It didn’t matter if you had two left feet or struggled every week with the same step, Nick would cheerfully take you to one side and go through it again and again without ever making you feel that you were stupid. So many pupils have told me how much they loved his lessons and how he brought laughter, dance and fun to so many people. And the number of people who admired him to the energy, passion and enjoyment that he brought to the classes, not to mention the bad and very corny jokes he would come out with. And that passion, that way of teaching is still the ethos of Nick’s Dance School; it’s our way of continuing to honour his memory.
When he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2012 he didn’t give up. That just wasn’t Nick’s way. “I want to party, have fun and live life to the full,” he told me. “I don’t know how long I have to enjoy my life, but I am going to enjoy every moment of it”. We didn’t know how long we’d have together but we made plans to enjoy the time in the best way that we could. We danced, we went on holidays, we laughed and we loved.
Our Friday night social dances were always a time for Nick to party and to dance and be the life and soul of the night. Even when he was anaemic and finding it hard to breathe he still jumped up to dance to his favourite jive or quickstep. Sometimes he only managed half a dance before he had to stop but he never ever gave up.
Nick also had a fun, mischievous side and I remember one dance night he said, “Let’s play a trick on everyone”. He whispered what he wanted to do and I agreed. We started dancing and I have to say it was very funny watching everyone’s faces. They started off looking slightly confused. Something was wrong but they couldn’t put their finger on it. Then as we danced some more, the realisation dawned and they twigged what was wrong………………..Nick was dancing as lady and I was dancing as man!
Another time a group of us went to a Warners dance weekend where James & Ola Jordan were the celebs doing show dances. During their demo they did the Paso Doble. James did the whole caping thing and dramatically threw his cape over our way. Well Nick just grabbed it off the floor and held onto it until the end of the show before walking onto the floor to return it to James Jordan. That was when James decided to teach Nick how to cape. We all knew from Len on Strictly about how difficult it was to learn how to cape properly and so we were sitting there on the edge of our seats waiting for Nick to stuff it up and end up with the cape around his neck. But instead he got it first time and there he was on the dance floor swirling this cape around as though he’d been doing it forever. He was so thrilled with his efforts that when we returned to the hotel room at 1am I went into the bathroom and I could hear this swishing noise going on. As I walked out into the room I could see Nick dressed only in his shirt, bow tie, underpants and socks, swirling a light blanket around that he’d found, practicing his caping skills. ‘Can’t forget it, might need it for future dance lessons’ he said, grinning.
Throughout all the treatment for his disease Nick never stopped being positive and upbeat. He was truly a brave and spirited soul. He was so happy to have made it to his 60th birthday and boy did he party that night, playing guitar on stage (he was a great rock guitarist and had his own band), dancing and making his usual really bad jokes that we all knew and loved Nick for.
Our time together was cut short before it should have been but Nick told me that he had lived more, done more, laughed more and had more happiness with me than he ever could have imagined.
It’s a cliché I know but Nick & I really were made for each other. I have never been loved by anyone in the absolute wholehearted way that Nick loved me. And I loved him with my whole heart. We may not have had as long together as we would have like, but we made the most of the time that we did have and for that I will always be grateful.
He is in my heart forever and I will miss my Nick, my partner, my dance partner, my best friend, my confidante, my one true love and my biggest supporter – he was in every way my soul mate.