Aug 3 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
SHE’S danced with Robbie Williams, toured in world famous musicals and performed for troops in Kosovo.
But Fiona Young’s first ever professional dancing gig was on the stage of the Gaiety Theatre.
And now the mum-of-two is holding a Zumba fundraising fitness party to raise cash for the Ayr Gaiety Partnership. The place where it all started for her.
Fiona grew up in Prestwick and has been dancing ever since she could walk.
Her first dance classes were at Karalyn Bell in Troon and after she finished school at Prestwick Academy, she went to study at the Edinburgh Theatre School for three years.
And at the tender age of 19, Fiona beat off competition from 60 other dancers to grab the one and only dancer opening in the 1998 Gaiety Panto, Aladdin.
She said: “It was my first ever paid job.
“I’ve done loads of pantos since in Kilmarnock and Glasgow but it was definitely the best one I’ve ever been involved in.
“It’s such a gorgeous theatre.
“I did the panto and the Gaiety Whirl the next year and then I went to work on cruise ships.”
Fiona spent the next few years touring the world doing dancing gigs of all kinds, from pop concerts to musicals.
But Ayrshire has always had a place in her heart, and she now lives in Prestwick full-time with her husband Ian and seven-year-old twins Mark and Jamie.
She explained: “After I had the children I had to stop dancing as there were no jobs around here, other than teaching children really.
“But hopefully now the Gaiety is opening back up there will be.
“So many talented dancers come out of Ayrshire and they should have somewhere to perform and work.”
Fiona went to work in recruitment and taught an adult dance class once a week to keep her passion alive.
And then two years ago she discovered her saving grace – Zumba.
Fiona, 34, said: “It’s absolutely ideal for a dancer. It’s basically dance with exercise, it’s relaxed and it’s so much fun.”
Fiona now teaches classes in Ayr, Troon and Prestwick, as well as continuing with her weekly adult dance class.
And on Sunday, August 5, she will host the Gaiety fundraiser with two other professional dancers, Chris Hillen and Kelly Kotze.
She added: “I’ve held three other fundraiser Zmba sessions before, for the Butterfly Trust, Vanessa Riddle and Yorkhill, and it’s such a brilliant atmosphere.
“Everyone is really up for a laugh.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried Zumba before, or even any kind of fitness class, it’s just a bit of fun.
“I’m hoping people who want to support the Gaiety as well as those who like Zumba, and will come along to give it a go.”
The fundraiser is being held in Prestwick Academy games hall and runs from 2pm until 3pm, with doors opening at 1.30pm.
The sound system and compere will be provided by DJ Cheeky-D.
The fun class will cost just £5 and extra donations are warmly welcomed.
For more information visit Fiona’s facebook page on www.facebook.com/fionayoungzumba