Strictly George Spencer 2013

IMG_3394aAfter only 10 weeks of training the intrepid teachers and students of George Spencer Academy finally took to the floor on Friday night to perform their three routines amid great excitement and anticipation.IMG_3720a

The venue looked fantastic together with the lighting, sound and media systems and a huge thank you to the team at George Spencer led by John Wilson who put this all together.

The stars of the show were, of course, the teachers and pupils together with their experienced dance partners from the Dance Centre. IMG_4706The event was a complete sell out with two hundred people gathered in eager anticipation at what was to come, but as many again were on the waiting list for tickets.

IMGP4134aThe event began with Chris “Bruce” Haggett and Louise “Tess” Aldred opening with a little Waltz number before introducing the contestants and outlining how the event would run. All 12 couples then performed two routines, one ballroom from either a Waltz or Quickstep and one latin from either a Cha Cha Cha or Paso Doble. All of them did a great job and can be proud of what they achieved in such a short space of time.IMG_4719

All couples then performed a group Tango routine which culminated in Chris Haggett being lifted through the centre of the circle causing a great reaction from the enthusiastic crowd.

The Adjudicators, Claire Hall, Andrew Field and Charlotte O’ Loughlin then had the unenviable task of selecting six of the couples to perform again in the final. This was no doubt a difficult decision but the chosen couples were:IMGP4136a

Seth and Karen, Georgina and Luke, Craig and Lydia, Jasmine and Paul, Alistair and Emily and Sarah and Josh.

These couples all then performed their favourite routine again and having now got the initial nerves out of the way, they turned in some fantastic performances. The Adjudicators then gave their opinions and all the finalists scored highly but the winners with the Adjudicators were Georgina and Luke. However this was only for guidance as the real winners were to be selected entirely by the audience.

Whilst the votes were being counted, Liam and AlexIMG_5172b (the current British Amateur Classical Sequence Champions) treated the crowd to a beautiful Waltz demonstration which earned them a standing ovation from the audience. Alex, who started dancing with us about ten years ago as a complete beginner, was herself a pupil at George Spencer prior to going to University.

IMGP4140aThe winner was then announced and it was very close but the audience chose Alistair and Emily.

An event like this can only happen with the help and co-operation of many people and so we would like to thank all the staff, pupils and Friends of George Spencer who helped in any way, our sponsor, I M Print for kindly providing funds to help make the event a success and our Adjudicators, Claire Hall, Andrew Field and Charlotte O’ Loughlin.

Most of all however, a huge thank you to all the pupils and staff at George Spencer who took part, for approaching the event with such enthusiasm and dedication. Also to our own dancers, Luke, Joanne, Liam, Alex, Josh, Charlotte, Lydia, Emily, Paul, Karen, Andy and Neil for freely giving up their time and sharing their own love of dance.

A massive thank you to Chris Haggett for doing a terrific amount of work in helping turn the concept into reality, we could not have done it without him.

I think everyone involved with this project has enjoyed it tremendously and made it an event to be proud of. I am sure that it will be one that everyone will be keen to repeat. Watch this space!!!

General Update

Well done to all of you who took your exams yesterday, you all looked the part and our examiner was very complimentary about the overall high standard of dancing. Hopefully we may get the results before Christmas and don’t forget the Presentation Dance is on 2nd February at a new venue, George Spencer Academy.

The Grand Final of Strictly George Spencer takes place on Friday and will be a night to remember (hopefully for the right reasons). The teachers and pupils at George Spencer along with their partners from the Dance School have been working really hard so good luck to you all.

Diary dates for next year’s events are now on the website under the “Events” section although we haven’t got all the dates yet but these will be updated as soon as we have them. 

Finally, the Annual Christmas Party takes place once again at Risley Park. This should be a great way to round off what will hopefully prove to be a great weekend. Evening attire seems to be most people’s preferred choice although there is no actual dress code.

First ISTD Qualifier

Boris was just thinking about putting his paws up for a well earnedCastleford 241113 rest following his busy Grand Finals weekend when he was called into action once more. It was the first ISTD qualifier for next year and this time only Lydia and Miriam went as Lydia needed to qualify in order to remain in the Junior section for next year. We had been in Blackpool for the British National Championships over the weekend and so had to make the early Sunday morning dash across to Castleford.

However it was worth the effort for us all as both Lydia and Miriam qualified in both their ballroom and latin events. An especially good result for Miriam as it was her first time dancing in the Juvenile section, having previously danced in the under 8 years. Well done to both of you and we all look forward to next year’s events.

Medals will follow in two weeks time which will be followed shortly afterwards by Strictly George Spencer. Good luck to all involved in those.

Strictly George Spencer – Partnerships Announced

The excitement mounted as the contestants from George Spencer Academy were finally introduced to their partners at a training session on Saturday. The pairings are as follows:

Joanne Pearson – Andy Brown

Luke Shepherd – Georgina Stain

Alexandra Stainton – Iain Randall

Liam Pywell – Helen Shenton

Joshua Horsley – Sarah Stephenson

Charlotte Skinner – Will Barker

Lydia Widdowson – Craig Topham

Emily Skinner – Alistair Fernie

Karen Mellor – Seth Fenton

Paul Hoskin – Jasmine Stenning

Neil Warrren – Catrina Gillborn

Andrew Parkinson – Parveen Ali

Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to come along and vote for your favourites, it will be a sell out.



NATD – Burton on Trent

NATD 171113

Only Emily and Madeleine made the trip to the National Association of Teachers of Dancing competition at Burton on Trent at the weekend. The reputation of the school therefore rested solely on their not so broad shoulders. Furthermore they had moved into a higher age group since last year and so were competing with the 14 and 15 year olds. 

They rose to the challenge however and, having to dance eight out of the nine standard rhythms, danced their way into all of their finals, winning the all girl event (which they also won last year) and also picking up a 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Well done to both of you, some great performances.

ISTD Grand Finals – Blackpool 2013

Another week, another visit to Blackpool this time with the school competing at the ISTD Medallist Grand Finals in 10a

During the year many of the pupils qualify in competitions to enable them to compete at this prestigious event, which then brings together many thousands of dancers from all over the country, including some from overseas. Over eighty competitors, family, freinds, supporters, and bears from the Duesbury Aldred Dance Centre made the annual pilgrimage to the world epicentre of Ballroom dancing, the Wintergardens in Blackpool. The event takes place over two days, beginning each day at 8.30am and finishing at 8pm on the Saturday and 10.30pm on the Sunday. Just attending and spectating is a real test of endurance and resiliance never mind having to dance and compete as well.

As you would expect the standard is extremely high and just to be recalled is a fantastic achievement in itself with anything beyond that a real bonus. Nevertheless our dancers did not disappoint with everyone trying their hardest and giving some great performances as a 9a

First up were the children on Saturday with their ballroom and Latin events. Though we were small in number we made up for it in quality:

Grace had a recall in both her ballroom and Latin events having only moved up into the under 8 years for the first time this year.

Lydia made a semi-final in her ballroom event from an initial entry of over 40, having also moved up a grade this year.

Miriam made the semi final of her ballroom event this year a great improvement from last year, not having been recalled in that event in 2012.

Dancing as Junior this year for the first time, Emily S was placed 7th in her ballroom event, a super result in a tough category.

photo 8aMolly was new to the team this year. Dancing for the first time at Blackpool is daunting enough but Molly rose to the occassion with two recalls in her ballroom and a 4th place in her Latin event.

Leila also had to move up a grade (having danced in the under 8 years last time). However competing with the older children did not phase her and she came away with a 2nd place in her Latin 7a

Having completed a successful day’s competition only a short time was available for a quick meal and change in order to be ready for the evening social dance. This gives both competitors and supporters alike the opportunity to relax and enjoy an evening of dancing in the magnificent setting of the ballroom together with a world class cabaret.

Sunday morning came all too quickly and after an early breakfast it was off to the ballroom for the sequence events for both the children and adults. With an entry of over 30 dancers in each age group, these events are always keenly contested. Everyone received at least one recall with Leila, Lydia, Charlotte, Emily T, Josh and Geraldine all making the semi-finals of their events. Especially pleasing for Emily T who was dancing here for the first time and Charlotte who had moved up to the extremely tough Under 35 years age group, having danced at Junior level last year.

photo 5aCongratulations go to Karen M on being our first winner of the day in the Over 35 years section and togther with Carla, Neil, Allison and Serena, this meant that five of the final six were dancers from our school. Neil made this final for the first time as did Serena who is also one of our newcomers.

The Over 50 years event was won for the 3rd time by Andy with Sue, Dawn and Dennis also making this final. Again this was the first time Sue had made the final of this 4a

The adult ballroom events followed and again there were some great results: Sarah making the semi final of her ballroom event on her debut, Karen M and Serena making the semi final of both their ballroom and Latin events. Paul, Neil, Charlotte, Andy and Christine all making semi finals and Allison, Carla and Sue all making finals.

photo 3aJosh and Dennis however went one better by both winning their respective ballroom events and also both being placed 3rd in their latin events. Well done both of 2a

In the couples events, Dennis and Sue and Andy and Dawn all made their respective ballroom and latin events with, coincidentally, both couples being placed 3rd in ballroom and 2nd in Latin.

A huge well done to everyone who entered, we are proud of you all and whatever your individual results your committment and dedication makes you all winners. Also a massive thank you to Luke, Liam, Karen and Josh who helped with partnering both at Blackpool and in lessons leading up to the event. We could not have managed it without you. Finally thank you to all our supporters, friends and family who made the trip, your support and cheering are much appreciated.

See you all next year.

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p.s. Boris says he has never been so exhausted and emotionally drained but happily will be fully recovered in time for the next competition.




Blackpool Sequence Festival 2013

Blackpool 2013Louise and I once again attended this prestigious festival in Blackpool and once again took the opportunity of dancing in this magnificent ballroom to the wonderful music of the Empress Orchestra. We have always enjoyed a good deal of success at these competitions and on this occassion won with both a Classical Sequence Tango (Tango Arizona) and a Foxtrot, named the California Foxtrot.

In addition Alex and Liam won the British Classical Sequence Amatuer Championship, a tremendous achievement having only danced together for two years. Not only did they win but they did so convincingly by winning all five dances. I am sure IMG_5172aeveryone in the school will wish to join with us in congratulating them.

Also dancing were Luke and Joanne in the Professional Classical Sequence Championship. They finished in second place, another teriffic result and our congratulations go to them also.

It is now less than two weeks until the ISTD Grand Finals. These will also be held in Blackpool and we hope that some of the sucesses of this week can be repeated, but more importantly, whatever the results we hope that everyone dances their best. Good luck to you all.

Fish & Chips in Whitby

A few of our couples recently made the twice yearly excursion to Whitby to enjoy the renowned fish and chips of the famous Magpie Cafe. Whilst there they decided to do the dance competition at the lovely Spa ballroom (or is that why we really went!).

A great day was had by all, with Karen and Paul winning all of their events, Dawn and Andy winning two of their events and making the finals of all their other events and Sue and Dennis making all of their finals against some stiff competition especially in the open sections.

Well done to everyone and we look forward to enjoying the next fish supper (or should that be competition!!)