Author Archives: Robert & Louise

ISTD Sequence Festival

After a period of respite with not much happening on the competition front we have a busy period ahead with two competitions in June and one in July. The first event was the ISTD Sequence Festival at Long Eaton which attracted dancers from all over the country. There was a good turnout and a busy day lay ahead on a very warm and humid day.

We had nearly a full turnout although a few regulars were missing due to holidays and as usual everyone was immaculately turned out. Everyone was determined to give their very best, which they did, whether this was in pursuit of a first position, final position or simply to improve their performances under pressure. There were at least seven dances for each to perform and some of the routines proved quite challenging, nevertheless everyone attacked them with their usual energy and enthusiasm.

There were many personal triumphs but giving winning performances this time out were: Luke, Leila, Molly, Grace P, Emily, Karen H and Serena. Most won more that one of their events but special mention must go to Serena who won all four of her individual events.

Other notable results were in the over 35 years to bronze section where we had the first three places with Carla and Sue taking 2nd and 3rd in both the Classical and Modern Sequence sections. This feat also occurred in the over 50 years silver and above Modern Sequence section with Andy and Dawn taking 2nd and 3rd.IMG_1670

The highlight of this event is the Three Dance Sequence competitions for Blackpool which are split between those who have qualified already and those who are yet to qualify. In the former category Luke and Miriam danced in the juvenile section and despite one of the largest entries of the day both reached the final and were placed 4th and 2nd respectively, a great performance. Grace S came 3rd in the juvenile section of those who had already qualified.

In the junior section Leila and Molly both reached the final being placed 3rd and 4th and in the under 35 years event (the largest entry of the day and possibly one of the most keenly contested) Grace P (2nd) , Emily (3rd) and Josh (5th) all reached the final, a great performance. In the over 35 years section Serena was placed 1st with Karen H 2nd, Carla 3rd, Neil 6th and Chris 7th. In the over 50 years section (another large entry) Sue surprised herself by coming 2nd with Dawn 3rd, Andy 4th, Christine 5th IMG_1669and Dennis 7th. Well done to you all. With all the excitement the bears decided to see how many bears it would take to build a pyramid, can you guess?

All in all then a great day for the whole team and thanks go once again to our partners, Luke, Ruth, Claire, Alex, Liam, Karen H, Emily, Molly and Josh and of course our fabulous supporters.

With only two weeks break we move swiftly onto the next event which is our own competition. Don’t miss it. There may also be another mystery blogger!!!

NATD Medallist Event – Daventry

Last Sunday, saw a trip south to Daventry for the NATD medallist event. On arriving at the sports hall it quickly became apparent we were in for a tough day as there was a bumper turnout of schools this year. Not deterred everyone got ready for the first challenges of the day. Unusually, we had the Latin American events first which meant straight into the faster rhythms to wake us all up on a Sunday morning. IMG_1649a

The largest event was the 8-9yrs pre-bronze girls, where four rounds had to be danced. Fearn did well to make the semi-final and Grace S made the final coming 6th. Overall we achieved ten first places in the Latin individuals – these were Leila, Olivia, Karly, Grace P, Allison, Karen H, Jack, Josh, Tony and Andy. Well done to all of you and also to the other remaining finalists, who all gave a good performance.

As it was an NATD event, most people were dancing at a higher grade than at the other medallist competitions and quite a few new routines were being trialled for the first time. Congratulations to all of you, on securing your new steps and still maintaining a high level of performance. IMG_1650a

Onto the Latin couples events. Again the Juvenile event had the largest entry where Miriam & Grace S had three rounds of Samba to make the semi-final. Although, Jack & Leila had a straight final they fought off all competition to win their Jive event, and Molly & Olivia were recalled to their final and came a creditable 4th. Karly & Emily S danced a lively Samba to come 3rd in the Adult All Ladies. In the Adult Gentleman/Lady Jive event, we had seven couples, of which Josh & Grace P, Paul & Karen and Craig & Lydia made the final, being placed 1st, 5th & 6th respectively.

IMG_1653aIt was then time for the team match. This year the team comprised of Miriam & Grace dancing Waltz, Jack & Leila Rumba and Josh & Grace P Tango. All dancers performed their very best and everyone else cheered them on. The team mascot bears particularly love this event as they get to join in the team parade. Unfortunately, only the winning team is announced and this year it was not to be us but it must have been a close run competition.

It was then onto the Ballroom individual events. This time we had eight 1st places. These were awarded to Miriam, Leila, Grace P, Allison, Craig, Chris, Josh & Andy. Again, new routines were on display and they were all performed without any major traumas.

The final events of the day were the all important Ragtime Swing IMG_1654aevents. Miriam & Grace S were first to perform and again had the most competition. They had five rounds to get to the final and they came a hard fought 3rd. Very well done. In the Junior section, Molly & Olivia and Jack & Leila had three rounds to get to their final. Molly & Olivia came 2nd , whilst Jack & Leila were 3rd, so close to getting their hands on the trophy! In the last section, the Adult event, we fielded 10 couples. After three rounds we were down to two couples in the final, Josh & Grace P and Paul & Karen. The pressure was certainly being felt at this point because Josh has won this event every time he’s competed for it, since its inception. Was it going to happen again? By this time there were a few tense looking parents, I think they were sharing the pressure. But, worry not Josh & Grace P were announced the winners, so the trophy was back in safe hands for another year.

IMG_1658aIt was a long day but hopefully everyone felt it was worthwhile. Whether it was for a win, a final place trophy, an extra recall to last year, a chance to practice a new routine or perhaps for a fun day out with good music and company! Whatever, your own personal goal, Boris and the bears certainly enjoyed their re-union. Thank you to you all for your continued commitment and dedication.

Now it’s onward to exams in May and then two major competitions in June.

Easter Parade

It’s Easter so that can only mean one thing – Southport! For the annual Southport Sequence Festival. This time we had six couples dancing: Liam & Alex, Stuart & Andrea, Dawn & Andy, Dennis & Sue, Neil & Carla and for the first time, Josh and Grace.IMG_1614

The first event in which we had representation was the “Dancer of the Year” event which Josh and Grace won against some stiff competition. They also went on to win all of their other events over the weekend a fantastic achievement at their first attempt. IMG_1636Liam and Alex retained the Amateur Classical Championship title with a convincing win, being placed 1st in all dances by all adjudicators.IMG_1634 They also won one of their events on the Sunday and were placed 2nd in the other. Stuart and Andrea were placed 3rd their Modern Sequence event and also in their Classical Sequence event on the Sunday.

IMG_1628Both Andy & Dawn and Neil & Carla made the final of their Classical Sequence event finishing 4th and 5th respectively.

The Latin sequence event is an entertaining feature of the Southport festival and this is open to all grades. Liam & Alex, Josh & Grace and Andy & Dawn all made the final being placed 2nd, 3rd and 5th.

Sunday dawned dry and bright but soon turned wet and windy, just the sort of weather to be indoors and all of our couples were once again in action. Andy & Dawn made all of their finals once again adding two more 4th places to their tally. Dennis and Sue won one of their events with Neil and Carla placed 2nd in the same event. They also both made the final of one of their other events finishing 5th and 6th respectively.

Southport 5The culmination of the festival is usually the Team match which has historically produced great entertainment. The theme this year was Circus. Our team comprised Louise as Lion Tamer, with Andy as the lion, Stuart & Andrea as Clowns, Liam & Alex as “strongmen (and women)” Josh & Grace as trapeze artists and myself as the Ringmaster. Unfortunately the only other team entered withdrew but we carried on regardless and everyone gave a great performance. Well done to you all on your costumes, they were fantastic especially Stuart’s shoes!

It was a very full but very enjoyable weekend, roll on next year.

What a Party!

The NATD couples competition this year happened to coincide with Dennis’s Birthday this year so what better way to celebrate than at a dance competition amongst friends? NATD 5

This time we had a number of couples competing: Molly & Olivia, Josh & Grace, Craig & Lydia, Emily & Madeleine, Andrew and Dawn, Dennis & Sue and a new partnership for this competition of Chris & Allison.

We began in fine style in the ballroom events with wins in all of the seven events in which we had couples dancing. Molly & Olivia won all three of their events, Josh and Grace won both of theirs and Emily & Madeleine and Andy & Dawn both won one of their events.

NATD 1A recent addition to the programme was the Non Competing Adult paired with a Junior Quickstep competition. Molly paired up with Caroline and were placed first whilst Olivia teamed up with Martin and came second a great performance from you all, the icing on the cake some would say!

Next came the Sequence events and again we won both events through Molly & Olivia and Josh & Grace. In the Adult event all our couples made the final with Craig & Lydia finishing a creditable second Andy &  Dawn third, Emily & Madeleine and Dennis & Sue tieing for fifth and Chris and Allison a respectable seventh.

The Latin events followed and Olivia & Molly lead the way with two firsts and a second. Josh and Grace had two firsts, Craig and Lydia two thirds, Emily & Madeleine a second and sixth, Andy & Dawn a first and a fourth, Denis & Sue a second and Chris & Allison a third.IMG_1604

A sparkling performance from the whole team then, one to which the opposition “couldn’t hold a candle”. It was all a piece of cake really and that was pretty good too, even the bears felt a bit stuffed afterwards (groan!!!)

IMG_1595

 

Mystery Blogger Unmasked

Thank you to all who have commented and shared you thoughts on the Mystery Blogger. We can now reveal that it was in fact Molly and so the prize of an Easter Egg for the first correct guess goes to Neil and Carla. Well done to you and also thank you to Molly for her report.

 

DanceSteps Competition-Mystery Blogger Strikes Again!

The school was out in force last Sunday for our own competition and this time we have a report from a “Mystery Blogger”. A valuable prize awaits the first person to correctly post the Blogger’s name.

IMG_1596

“It was a grand day out for the Duesbury Aldreds on the special occasion of mothers day, with a chance of a slightly longer lie in, seeing as the location of the venue was at Long Eaton, West Park Leisure Centre where each competitor strutted out the car all done up, hair, makeup and not forgetting the tans! Despite the fact I went with out one this week, nevertheless each and everyone one of us was ready to compete and present our delightful dancing. Many new starters also twirled onto the dance floor and successfully danced whilst being well supported along with the other competitors, and supporters which created an encouraging atmosphere which everyone could thrive off.
My personal element of the day was the sequence events where many of us performed Waverley Two Step and straight afterwards in contrast to this, Sindy Swing, having to change the theme of each dance in less than thirty seconds whilst both competitors and partners quickly grabbed a breath when we had the chance, to endeavour a place in the recalls, leading to the finals.
Not forgetting about the little ones dancing either the Boston Two Steps and the the even smaller ones immaculately performing 3 Walks and Points, literally climbing to the podium and thrilled to receive an award!
Not too long afterwards, once the many trophies and medals were awarded for ballroom and sequence, we had a raffle. Two of our fabulous ladies selling the raffle tickets and then the lucky ones of us going up and collecting one of the many 21 prizes we had! Many thanks to everyone that brought raffle prizes, it was very thoughtful and I also won one!
Latin was next, where everyone looked exquisite and prepared for the busy afternoon, and had the opportunities to show your unknown personalities off, both on the dance floor and during “Reaching for the stars” everyone loved it, even Bruno!
The mums got the dance fever and got up on the dance floor, I personally hoped they didn’t have to dance because I had no hope with my mother dancing! Sorry mum, however they went up to earn a bottle of wine instead for their special day and all of them came off smiling however I knew some of them were secretly disappointed!
Speaking from my behalf, everyone had a great day thanks to the two people that can generate this to happen, Robert and Louise we are all very grateful and well done to everyone, you’re all stars.”
Thank you to our reporter, can you guess who it is????

Pudsey

We are in the midst of a very busy period for competitions and last weekend the outing was to Pudsey in Leeds. It was a large turn-out with nearly a complete squad, eager to get valuable qualifying places.
IMG_1585
The day started with the children’s sequence events. In the Juvenile section Grace S came 5th and in the Junior’s Olivia and Jack made the semi-final and Molly came 6th in the final. Both these events had large entries, so very well done to everyone.

In the children’s ballroom and Latin events everyone qualified in their events. In their respective age groups in ballroom Luke came 2nd, Grace 2nd, Leila 1st, Olivia 2nd, Jack 3rd and Molly 2nd. In Latin, Luke won, Grace S came 2nd again, Leila 1st again, Jack 2nd, Olivia 3rd and Molly 2nd again.

As many of them as possible paired up for the couples and with very little practice very good results were achieved. Luke & Grace won the Jive, Jack & Leila also won their Jive & came 5th in the Quickstep. Olivia & Molly decided to reverse roles this week in the Quickstep and came 4th and 2nd in the Jive.

As we were running to time the organiser decided to add a fun event, you had to have a partner with at least a five year age gap and the test dances were determined as the event progressed. Not sure what they were letting themselves in for, Jack & Karly, Olivia & Grace S, Sarah & Leila and Luke & Molly took to the floor. By the end of the final they had danced a Waltz, Cha Cha Cha, Tango and Paso Doble, both dancing Man and Lady roles. Along with a Freestyle dance. IMG_1588The very delighted winners were Luke and Molly. Whilst great fun to watch, it’s one of those experiences which I define as ‘character building’ for those taking part. So very well done to you all.

It was now time for the adult events, which started with the sequence and there were more competitors in these events than I have seen for some considerable time. In the under 35 years we had eight dancers of which Emily and Josh made the semi final and Grace P, the final, with a well deserved 4th place. In the over 35 years, Karen won with the remaining places going to Serena, Carla, Neil and Chris respectively. In the over 50 years, semi final places went to Sue and Hazel. In the final Andy came 2nd, Allison 3rd, Christine 4th and Dennis 6th.
IMG_1593
In the individual ballroom and Latin sections there were wins for Grace P, Chris, Lydia, Serena, Carla, Karen H, Neil, Andy, Geraldine, Christine, Karen C and Allison.

We also had success in the couples with a few new pairings – Craig & Lydia, Chris & Sarah, Karly & Emily, Dennis & Sue, Serena & Allison, Paul & Karen, Josh & Grace P and Neil & Carla. All danced their routines well and all performances were lifted by our vocal supporters group.

As always, we were very proud of the whole team. You all looked delightful, tried your hardest and had an immaculate floor presence. Once again a big thank you to everyone who helped with partnering, especially Liam and Alex. Praise also to those of you who work just as hard in the background – chauffeuring, cheering, dressing, feeding, encouraging and nurturing – you are all essential members of the team.

We now have a two whole weeks before the next outing, which is our competition at Long Eaton.

See you there.

St Valentines Day – Competition

IMG_1572a14th February might mean Valentine’s Day to most people but this year, for our team, it meant a trip to Whitwick for valuable sequence qualifying opportunities.

This competition is slightly different to most because it is purely for the sequence three dance events and also there is an audience of dancers who just go along for the day to support the events.

Whilst our team was missing a few regular members we saw the welcome return of others and we were very proud of the overall display you all put on, both in terms of your dancing quality and beautiful appearances.

The results were also excellent. Grace S achieved a hard fought 2nd in the Juvenile event. Molly a 2nd, Leila a 3rd and Olivia 5th in the Junior. An excellent achievement, especially for Leila who was dancing in her first junior event since reaching the age of 12.

In the under 35years, Emily S had an excellent result by winning, with Lydia 2nd, Sarah 3rd, Paul 5th, Craig 6th and Karly 7th. In the over 35years we had a clean sweep with Elizabeth, Karen H, Serena, Neil and Chris respectively making the line-up. In the over 50years Allison was 1st, Iris 2nd, Geraldine 3rd, Karen C 5th and Hazel 6th.

Overall, we are almost there in terms of the whole team being qualified for Blackpool in the sequence events – and it’s only February.

A big thank-you must also go to those who partnered, many as well as competing for themselves, Luke, Ruth, Claire, Karen and Molly. It couldn’t happen without you.

No time to rest, this Sunday sees a drive North to Pudsey for both individuals and couples in ballroom, Latin and Sequence. IMG_1576a

Medal Presentation Goes With a Bang Bang!

The end of January usually brings our medal presentation dance following our NATD exam day last December and this year was no exception.IMG_1568

It is great to see how dancing brings together people of all ages, from 2 years to over 80 years, to enjoy a social afternoon. There were some delicious cakes available, made by the FroGS together with a mix of ballroom, Latin, sequence and line dancing hopefully to suit all tastes.

One of the highlights of the afternoon is the display provided by the children and young adults. First to perform were the younger children, Grace, Emily R and Fearn, partnered by some of the older children, who showed us their Paso Doble and Jive. Then followed a routine by the older ones with a demonstration of Quickstep, Tango, Gavotte, Waltz, Viennese Waltz and Two Step all choreographed to music from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They all performed brilliantly especially since it was a challenging routine and they had barely had more than five hours of rehearsals in which to learn it!

IMG_1565The school award this year was presented to Joshua Horsley for his commitment and dedication over a period of years leading to some excellent results in both examinations and competitions. A deserving recipient I am sure you will agree.

We have a very short break now before we launch full steam into the competition season with three events in quick succession commencing on February 14th and culminating in our own competition on March 6th. Make sure you don’t miss out.

First ISTD Qualifier of the New Year

The new season usually kicks off with a visit to Kettering and that usually means snow. This year was no exception albeit with only a small amount (although Boris was glad to have his jumper) and certainly not enough to cool the enthusiasm of our dancers who were keen to get the New year off to a good start.

Kettering always brings some tough competition and is usually a long and busy day. The Sequence events are made more difficult as most dancers have had only a short time to learn and perform three new routines and this is the first time they have danced them in competition.IMG_1535a

Grace P and Emily had moved age groups and Luke and Leila were unable to attend so we only had three of our younger members in attendance. Nevertheless they did not disappoint, all making their ballroom finals with Olivia having the honour of claiming the first qualification slip for this year. Also in the Sequence they were all finalists with both Grace S and Molly awarded 2nd place a tremendous achievement in these hard fought events. Molly and Olivia also came 4th in their couples CCC event not really having danced much together before.IMG_1540a

The adults therefore, as usual, had a lot to live up to but once again delivered in all categories. Grace P, Chris, Serena, Iris and Geraldine were all placed 1st in their ballroom events, Dennis & Sue and Dawn & Andy were 1st in their couples events and almost everyone else reached the final. Craig & Karly and Chris & Sarah all made their ballroom couples finals which was a great achievement as they had not really danced together much beforehand.IMG_1543a

In the Sequence, Grace P and Josh both reached their hard fought final with Grace taking 2nd place on her first attempt as an adult competitor. Karen H won her event as did Christine. In fact in the Over 50 year’s section we had five of the six finalists: Christine, Andy, Allison, Sue and Dawn.

The Latin events continued to bring successes, again with most dancers reaching the finals. Karen H, Iris and Geraldine all won their events as did Serena and Allison in their couples CCC event.

All in all then we had a great day out against some tough opposition and it was a tremendous start to the year. A big thank you to Liam and Alex for coming along to help with the partnering, also to all of our supporters.IMG_1550a

The next few weeks will be busy with the medal presentation dance followed by three more competitions in quick succession. Boris will be busy!!