Marcus & Karen Hilton
Internationally recognized as the world's premiere dance couple, Marcus and Karen Hilton have won virtually every major professional dance championship. They have been champions in the European, British, and U.S. Open, the U.K. Championships, the World and European professional 10 Dance, as well as World Professional Ballroom Segue Champions.
The Hiltons' climb to the top of the dance world was accomplished the old- fashioned way. They earned it through hard work and practice, and by competing together in amateur events starting in 1978. Early on, while still in their teens, Marcus and Karen each achieved recognition in junior and amateur competitions. As a couple they won most of the local championships in the Latin American disciplines. During this period, they began traveling to many different countries to participate in dance events and to represent Great Britain.
In 1980, they took a big step forward by finishing in third place in the United Kingdom Open to the World Championships. This qualified them as the number two couple to represent England at the forthcoming World Amateur Latin American Championships in West Germany where they came in fifth. By 1981 they were finishing second in all major championships around the world. Their first major success was winning the World and European Amateur 10 Dance Championships in Norway and Belgium. By then they were very much in demand to represent England in many different countries. Winning became a habit, and the Hiltons took home a collection of expensive gifts and solid silver trophies. For the next two years Marcus and Karen held the global number one spot in the Amateur Latin American and 10 Dance.
The Hiltons turned professional in 1983 and immediately achieved success by making the finals in every major professional Latin American championship event. As professionals, their travel around the world increased, as well as their income, from demonstrations, teaching, lecturing and judging. Their first major professional ballroom success came in 1984 when they won the British Rising Star Championship.
In 1986, the Hiltons were married and celebrated shortly thereafter by winning the World and European Professional 10 Dance Championship. After finishing third at the World Ballroom Championships in Tokyo, Japan that year, the Hiltons' rise in the professional ranks was meteoric. In 1989 they won the first ever World Professional Ballroom Segue Championship (a type of show dance competition) in Germany, and were also awarded the BDF Award for the most outstanding professional ballroom couple in the world. In 1990 they won The British Open to the World Professional Ballroom Championship held in the famous Winter Gardens, Blackpool. To this day they continue to win major championships in professional events worldwide.
In 1997, the Marcus and Karen Hilton winning streak remained intact. They won the U.K. and British Opens, the U.S. Open, German Open, and International Open Championships. But the highlight of the year, and possibly of their career, happened in June when they were appointed as Members of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) in the Queen's Birthday Honors list. In 1998, their success continued as they won the World Pro title for a record ninth time, the International and British Ballroom Championships for a record eighth time, and the British Championships.
In recent years, the Hiltons have used their fame and achievements to benefit a number of worthy charities in their hometown of Rochdale, in the north of England. They are very much in demand as teachers, lecturers, judges and, most of all, as demonstrators. However, their first love is competition where they excel and stand alone on top of the dance world.