It's a waltz for Joanne Clifton as she takes European Professional Ballroom Championship crown
A FORMER Waltham dancing star put her best foot forward to win the European Professional Ballroom Championship.
Talented Joanne Clifton, 29, was put through her paces at the prestigious event, performing five dances with her partner Palo Basco in Velenje, Slovenia.
Joanne's parents Keith and Judy – who were four times British Latin American Champions – are "over the moon" that Joanne is following in their footsteps.
Dancing genes must run in the family as Karen's brother, Kevin, is currently an assistant choreographer on BBC1's hit series Strictly Come Dancing and his partner, Karen Hauer, is leading Westlife singer Nicky Byrne on the show.
Keith said: "We are incredibly proud of Joanne. She has done remarkably well and she has put in a lot of hard work to win this.
"She trains for seven or eight hours every day and teaches on top of that.
"Joanne has been a dancer all her life and she is finally on the way to become top by being the best in the world.
"Fingers crossed she will gain the world title soon."
The dancing duo wowed the crowds with their grace performing the waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz and quickstep – consequently they won each category hands down for Italy.
Her partner Paolo, who trains at the same dance school as Joanne in Bologna, Italy, has won the world ballroom dance title six times with his previous partner, who retired last year.
Mum Judy added: "Last time we saw them dance was in August, in Germany, and they have improved beyond belief.
"We are very, very proud of her."
Joanne moved to Italy about 12 years ago to train with Team Diablo – the biggest dance school in Europe – and was partnered with Marco Cavallaro.
The couple reached sixth in the world amateur rankings before Joanne was invited to team up with Paolo.
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