Ex-RAF officer runs a successful dance school
19 May 2006
OSNABRUECK – A former flight instructor to King Hussein and his family have made a perfect job of teaching Germans to dance.
“No, I haven’t flown for a long time,” says Arthur Hull, 82, recalling how two royal flight students – Prince Phillip and King Hussein of Jordan – turned into good pilots. As an officer in the Royal Air Force and an experienced pilot, Hull was chosen to accompany the two men with the cockpit.
His flying days may be behind him, but Hull finds plenty of time to devote to his second great interest. “Dancing is still a lot of fun, although at my age I enjoy the slowfox more than the quickstep. My children do that a lot better than I do.”
Those children are Damian, Patsy and Michael. The last two run the Hull Dance School, with branches in Osnabrueck, Luebbeck and Georgsmarienhuette.
“This shows what is possible in Germany. I originally only wanted to stay here because of the great beer,” says Hull (born August 13, 1923), but then he turned his hobby into a job in Osnabrück.
His children were his best students. Damian and Patsy soon enjoyed success on the national and international level. Little brother Michael became a world disco champion in 1980. Soon, Mike and Patsy went professional, winning prizes in 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991 in standard dance competitions. They became world champions in standard dance, World Cup winners and three-time European champions and enjoyed national success more than a dozen times. They dominated the dance world for a decade.
Nowadays, Patsy and Michael and their experience are much sought- after for work as consultants, judges and trainers, in Germany and abroad. They are also in demand in the media. Starting in April 2006, Michael joined the jury of the televised dance contest “Let’s Dance” on private RTL television and gets to weigh in on the footwork of German celebrities.
But he does this with the same humour that made him stand out when he was actively competing. Many cannot forget the extra performance he once gave after winning a title where he “behaved like a fried egg in a pan” or the time when, instead of the expected classic rumba, he and his sister started up a breakdance routine which astounded the audience.
Whether they are old or young, and whether the dance is a classic quickstep, tango, rumba or cha-cha or a new trend like salsa, breakdance, dancefloor or hiphop, Germans seem entranced by dance. The fascination extends from children in the “Pumuckl Group” (named for a famous German cartoon) all the way up through students and adult classes.
Germany’s “Mister Dance” Michael Hull is certain “Dancing is fun and brings you closer together. Our father had the idea of starting our dance school in Osnabrück in 1969. Dancing, the Hull family and the people of Germany. That goes well together!”
Patriarch Arthur, called Pat, agrees. He can also tell a few tales – about flying for example. “I once flew a secret mission to the Berlin region to retrieve some titanium, then a very precious metal, from an airplane wreck. Then I taught young German army pilots how to fly in Diepholz.” And then he stayed on in Germany, in order to dance.
Contact: Dance School Patsy & Michael Hull Ltd., Hasestr. 6-7, D- 49074 Osnabrück Tel: +49-(541)-331 50 – 0, Fax: +49-(541)-331 50 – 20
Subject: German news