A dance teacher’s ‘dream came true’ when her boyfriend stole the spotlight to propose in an unusual way during an annual Christmas show.

Phillipa Burt, owner of Phillipa Anna's School of Dance in Chigwell, was so busy organising the dance performance that she did not immediately notice the plot involving 75 of her students unfolding.

Boyfriend Joe King, 30, had secretly arranged for the performers to hold up cards spelling out ‘will you marry me?’ at the end of the performance.

Miss Burt, 25, said: “Suddenly the curtains opened behind me and all I heard were screeches from people in the audience which made me spin around to see 75 of my pupils all standing there holding up huge letters spelling out ‘Will you marry me?’.

“Oh my gosh, I was speechless.

“Joe then produced the most perfect ring and got down on one knee in front of over 300 people.

“How could I say no?

“To be able to share that moment with both of our families, and my dancing family, who are my absolute world, was a dream come true. 

“I have spent most of my life on a stage, but in the words of my Mum, that was my best stage performance yet.”

Miss Burt opened the dance school in 2011 after moving to Chigwell from Middlesbrough to be with her boyfriend who she met while working on a cruise ship five years ago.

The business has grown ever since, teaching ballet, zumba, tap and even street dance to children as young as two.