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Shock at death of inspirational Hampstead dance teacher ‘who danced her way into hearts’

PUBLISHED: 07:01 22 January 2015

Suzie Wright, as featured on Glass Dance Studio's promotional website

Suzie Wright, as featured on Glass Dance Studio's promotional website

Glass Dance Studio

Shocked parents and pupils of a dance instructor found dead at a Hampstead pub have paid tribute to their “inspirational” teacher who “danced her way into their hearts” and “lit up NW3 with her smile”.

A police car stationed outside the King William IV pub in Hampstead last week following Suzie Wright's deathA police car stationed outside the King William IV pub in Hampstead last week following Suzie Wright's death

Shocked parents and pupils of a dance instructor found dead at a Hampstead pub have paid tribute to their “inspirational” teacher who “danced her way into their hearts” and “lit up NW3 with her smile”.

The body of Suzie Wright, 36, was discovered at a flat above the King William IV pub, in Hampstead High Street, just after 10am last Wednesday, January 14.

Emergency services had been called to the pub, run by Ms Wright’s partner Elaine Loughran, to reports of an unconscious woman but they were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ms Wright, originally from Wales, taught at University College School (UCS) and had set up her own dance company, Glass Dance Studios, at the 02 Centre, in Finchley Road.

Sarah Harrison, whose daughter Freya Hodder-Williams, 11, was Ms Wright’s pupil for six years said: “It’s tragic. Freya had had a lesson with her the previous Friday. She adored Suzie, she really was amazing with the girls.”

She and other parents were this week trying to break the news gently to their girls, many of whom were sitting school entrance exams.

“It is very tricky and difficult to process,” she said.

Freya and her friend Ella Bernstein, 11, wrote a moving tribute which they emailed to the Ham&High. They said: “Suzie has been the most inspirational and positive teacher as well as a friend. She always supported and encouraged us and all her other students, as well as being an incredible dancer herself.

“She has taught us how to dance and perform like professionals and always put her all into every lesson. We will miss her so much and we know all of her other students will as well.”

Caroline Oulton, of Mill Lane, West Hampstead, whose daughter Elsie, 13, was taught by Ms Wright, said: “Suzie danced her way into our daughters’ hearts with her beauty, her style, her sweetness and that hundred watt smile that lit up NW3.

“However tired and cranky the girls were on a Friday, they would emerge from her classes, restored, buzzing and back on track. They admired her so and wanted to give of their absolute best. Suzie loved dancing, she loved teaching and she is so so missed. She also loved daffodils and I will think of her always when the spring flowers come out opposite UCS.”

Elsie said: “Suzie was most definitely one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. When we were talking and giggling in lessons, she would never be cross, just laughing and saying that she was glad there was “life in the room”. Her choreography was so amazing and the dances we did were the coolest things in the world.

“She was such a role model to me and my friends, her elegance, beauty and kindness filling us with admiration. We all loved Suzie so much, and will remember her for the rest of out lives.”

Fellow pupils Elana Casillas and Eva Brazier, both 13, told of their teacher’s “infectious personality”. They wrote: “You always believed in us. We would look forward to seeing you every Friday to learn another amazing choreographed dance. You were so enthusiastic, full of energy, forever encouraging, supportive and such an inspiration.’’

They added: “Your infectious personality would shine through the class and by the end, everyone left happy and smiling. “Thank you Suzie for always being so kind, we will all miss you and will always remember the amazing times we had with you.”

Pub landlady Ms Loughran was said to be distraught and was being comforted by friends this week.

Ms Wright’s former colleague UCS swimming teacher Paul Dillon said: “Suzie was the best dance teacher ever. The world is a little less graceful today,”

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances

A spokesman for the St Pancras Coroner said the coroner was still awaiting the results of the post mortem.

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