Another week, another visit to Blackpool this time with the school competing at the ISTD Medallist Grand Finals in Blackpool.
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 result.
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.
Molly 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 event.
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.
Congratulations 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 event.
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.
Josh 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 you.
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.
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.