Following swiftly on from the excitement of Strictly George Spencer was the Annual Christmas Party. This time the venue was the Holiday Inn at Sandiacre. It gives us a chance to unwind, catch up with freinds and re-live the events of the night before. Dancing was to a DJ and a live duo, keeping us entertained with a range of music to suit all tastes. What a great way to kick start Christmas and judging by these photos a good time was had by all.
Once again we introduced eight students and four members of staff from George Spencer Academy to the world of Ballroom dancing. They receive 45 minutes of training for 10 weeks and are expected to learn 3 routines. The contestants this year were: Staff, Phillippa, Jane, Adam and John whilst the students were: Emily, Emma, Kerryn, Emily, Hayden, Ethan, Archie and Fenton. This was the first time that we had had two brothers (Hayden and Ethan) involved and no doubt there would be some sibling rivalry. John had been involved in the two previous events but as the sound and lighting technician but having been so taken with it previously decided he would like to particpate this time.
Once again the hall was packed to capacity and the audience were treated to a fantastic show with everyone performing to levels they had not previously attained, lifted by the enthusiastic crowd.
This year the standard was extremely high with almost everyone having the potential to reach the final and this gave our Judges, Claire, Andrew and Mary a real headache in selecting the six that would go through.
The selected six were Emily, Emma, Emily, Phillippa, Hayden and Ethan and they were all potential winners. Dancing once again in the final all six performed brilliantly and surpassed their previous performances. In the end the audience voted the winner as Hayden partnered by Lydia who also scored a maximum of 30 from the judges.
Of course all the contestants were winners in the end having been inspired to achieve something beyond what they thought possible. The event continues to be a resounding success both with George Spencer and our own dance school and we can’t wait for next year.
A huge thank you to all who were involved particularly: Chris for his organisation and continued committment to the project inspite of no longer being at George Spencer, Debbie for picking up many of the administrative tasks which Chris could no longer perform and acting as liaison with the school, all the staff, FROGS and students at George Spencer who help the event run smoothly and professionally, the sponsors and of course our Judges.
Most of all however, thank you to our partners: Luke, Liam, Alex, Karen, Paul, Neil, Lydia, Josh, Emily, Molly, Grace, Craig who give up their time to come along to training and also on the night. Thank you for your committment, dedication and conduct, we are proud to have you representing our dance school and helping to introduce others to the fantastic world of ballroom dancing.
The NATD exam sessions usually take place at the beginning of December and this year was no exception. It was going to be a long day with over 140 medals being taken and our examiner, Mrs Burnett, was prepared for almost a ten hour session with few breaks. Everyone was extremely well turned out as usual and all were determined to give their best.
There were a few minor hiccups along the way but everyone gave a good account of themselves and the examiner was very complimentary about the ovreall standard of presentation and dancing. Thank you all for your efforts, you are a credit to the school.
Don’t forget the presentation dance is Sunday 31st January at Geroge Spencer Academy. Make sure it’s in your diary!
Boris had “bearly” recovered from Blackpool before we were once again in action on the competition floor. The occasion was the local NATD event which we have supported for many years but which had a different format to usual and involved a mixture of couples and individual events. We had four couples in action: Madeleine & Emily (dancing as adults for the first time) Lydia & Craig, Grace & Josh and Carla & Neil. In the individual Latin events all of our dancers were placed either 1st or 2nd which was great.
In the couples events all performed brilliantly once again with Emily and Madeleine taking 2nd in one of their events and Josh and Grace, Craig & Lydia and Neil & Carla placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in one of theirs. In the over 35 years section Neil and Carla took 1st place and in the under 35 years section Josh and Grace won followed by Craig and Lydia in 2nd and Emily and Madeleine in 3rd.
There were two Special Events today which were open to all comers. Josh and Grace won the Sally Ann Cha Cha Cha trophy which was given in memory of Roy & Dorothy Moxon and then in the Rose Bowl event Josh & Grace won yet again with Carla and Neil 2nd, Emily and Madeleine 3rd and Craig & Lydia 4th so we could not really have done any better.
Of course we still have the NATD medal session to come followed by the eagerly anticipated Strictly George Spencer and then the Christmas party, before Santa comes calling, so plenty still to keep us all busy.
Watch out for future reports and also the list of diary dates for next year.
We had barely paused for breath after Grand Finals before we were on with the next activity which was a Latin workshop for some of our competitors and medallists. We had invited former World, European and British Latin Champion, Matthew Cutler, who also featured on “Strictly Come Dancing” winning the show with partner Aleisha Dixon.
This was something new which we had not tried before within the school and so we were not quite sure how it would be received. Nevertheless it was greeted with great enthusiasm and anticipation as many of our dedicated dancers gathered, eager to learn what Matthew had to say. He started by explaining in detail some of the basic techniques and fundamentals of Cha Cha Cha, Jive, Samba and Rumba and went on to explain how some of these could be developed to improve Latin styling and presentation, all of which had helped him to become a Champion. Matthew explained that it was important to show clarity in what you are doing be that in terms of leg action, foot placement or arm placement as well as giving tips on how this could be improved. I am sure that our dancers appreciated not only what Matthew was telling them but also seeing these basic figures and actions demonstrated so beautifully.
Of course time was short and some of the principles he explained will take much practice to be able to replicate but there was plenty, I am sure, for everyone to think about and take away to practice in their lessons and classes. Hopefully everyone found it a worthwhile exercise and one which they may be interested in repeating in the future.
For the rest of this term we will be working hard towards our medals at the beginning of December followed closely by Strictly George Spencer, an event not to be missed but unfortunately now completely sold out! Following that we have the annual Christmas party and then the big day itself. Plenty to look forward to therefore – so watch this space for further reports.
Blackpool can be a scary place at the best of times and there were definitely some strange characters roaming the streets this Halloween. Sometimes it was hard to tell if some were actually in fancy dress or not!!
Nevertheless this Halloween marked the start of the ISTD Grand Finals weekend in which we had 28 dancers competing, supported by an army of parents, grand parents, family, friends and well wishes. Grand Finals are always a major team outing and this year was no exception with almost 90 of us in total, all providing terrific support to each other through the highs and inevitable lows (of which there were few thankfully) of the weekend.
Everyone was immaculately turned out, many of the ladies particularly, sporting new dresses and all looked fantastic, upholding the traditions of the school. Grand Finals are a tough business however where dancers are pitched against some of the best in the country at their particular age and grade, who have also qualified to be there by beating others at events held all over the country. With some 1400 competitors over the two days, getting a recall would be an achievement let alone making a semi-final or final!
The weekend begins with the children early on Saturday morning and first in to bat for our team was Luke in the under 6 year’s section. Luke is new to the team this year and this was his first Grand Finals. Seemingly unfazed by this however he went on to finish 3rd in his Waltz and 5th in his Cha Cha Cha, a great result. The Juniors may be low in numbers but this is certainly not the case in terms of their dancing ability, all receiving at least a recall in one of their events. Molly recorded our first victory of the weekend, winning with her Waltz and Grace P made it a one, two by being awarded 2nd place in the same event, a fantastic result from both. Grace also reached the semi-final of her Latin event and reached her ballroom, couples semi-final with Olivia. Well done to all our dancers: Luke, Leila, Grace S, Olivia, Molly, Grace P and Emily S. It was a great start to the weekend.
Although the weekend runs at break neck pace there is a brief moment to unwind a little and following the end of the juniors events is the evening dance, this year with a Halloween flavour. Some had dressed up and gone to town on their outfits, in our party we were joined by Count Dracula and his bride as well as a couple of black cats and an assortment of other misfits. There was the usual dancing and demonstration and a brief moment of relaxation was enjoyed by all.
All too soon, 8.30am to be precise, it was time to begin once again this time with the Sequence events. These events are in age groups but ungraded and so are particularly keenly contested. Once again our dancers proved themselves up to the challenge with Leila taking 3rd in the juvenile section and Josh, a 4th in the Under 35 years section. Grace P once again made the semi-final and in the Over 35years event Elizabeth, Karen H, Serena, Neil and Carla were all in the final placed, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. In the Over 50 year’s section Andy won once again making it a hat trick of wins in this event and five times in total. In this event Allison was also placed 2nd, Sue 5th and Dawn 7th. We were therefore off to a flying start.
Also competing today for the first time was Karly and she made the semi-final of one of her events, a great result for the first time out.
Elizabeth, having recently returned after a break from competing for a couple of years whilst having Isabella, set the bar with a win in her ballroom event. A result she repeated in the Latin. Craig followed this up with a win in his ballroom event, which is amazing since he only started dancing less than two years ago at our Strictly George Spencer event.
Josh won his ballroom event and also made all of his finals both, individual and couples. Serena and Karen H made both of their respective ballroom and Latin finals, Dennis came 2nd in his ballroom event and Karen C came 3rd in her ballroom event beating former Business Secretary, Vince Cable into the bargain! In the Latin events Neil also added to the list of finalists with a 5th for his Samba.
Chris, Sarah, Sue, Allison, Geraldine, Andy, Paul and Carla all reached semi-finals in one or more of their events and everyone else got one or more recalls. Some fantastic results all round, well done everyone.
The couples events followed and Josh and Sarah were placed 2nd and 4th respectively in their ballroom and Latin events, Andy and Dawn 4th in both of their events, Dennis and Sue 3rd and 7th in their events, Neil and Carla 2nd and 3rd in their events and Allison and Serena 7th in their ballroom event. Paul and Karen made the semi final of the very difficult Under 35 ballroom section of their event. Again some great results.
And so we departed the ballroom fifteen hours after we had arrived, a little tired but very satisfied. Boris and the mascots did a fine job supporting us through every step from start to finish and have now gone to lie in a very darkened room.
We owe a massive thank you to those who came along just to partner: Luke (along with Julie and Charlie), Alex and Liam. We could not do it without your dedication and willingness to give up your time to support the school’s success. We also must thank Ruth for helping to keep us in order during the busy periods on Sunday and making sure we were all in the right place at the right time with the right partner.
Well done to everyone involved whether as dancer or supporter you all help to make it a terrific weekend to be involved in.
There is little time for the grass to grow however, we have the Latin Workshop next weekend followed by medals and then Strictly George Spencer. See you there!!!
Leila was first into action on the Saturday, competing in the juvenile Liberty Two Step in which she finished 2nd, a feat she also repeated later on in the Fylde Waltz competition. A great outcome for her first visit to this event.
The following day saw most of our adult competitors in action, Liam & Alex, Stuart & Andrea, Dawn & Andy, Carla & Neil and Dennis & Sue. Dawn & Andy and Carla & Neil were all recalled to their semi-final and Stuart and Andrea finished 4th in the Senior Classical Sequence Championship. Unfortunately Liam had not been well all the week before but showing great fortitude, rather than withdrawing, he battled on and in the end they finished a creditable 3rd.
Monday saw the Over 35 years Classical Sequence competition and three of our couples were in action once again all dancing their best in the fabulous Empress Ballroom. Inspired by this iconic venue both Dawn & Andy and Sue & Dennis made the final finishing 5th and 7th respectively, a great achievement. Carla and Neil reached the semi-final, narrowly missing out on a place in the final. Monday is also the day of the Inventive Dance competition in which Louise and I won the Classical Sequence section with the Houston Tango taking our total number of wins at this event to 14 (a new record!)
All too soon it was the final day of the Championships and in action on the Tuesday were: Luke and Sophie in the Professional Classical Sequence Championship, Liam & Alex in the Amateur Classical Sequence Championship and Stuart & Andrea in the Senior Modern Sequence all dancing to the terrific, live music of the Empress Orchestra. Who could not help but be inspired in these circumstances, to give their best and they all did just that. Stuart and Andrea once again finished 4th in their event, Liam & Alex won their event for the third consecutive time equalling the current record. Luke & Sophie also won their event, reaching the pinnacle of their careers to date to become the coveted British Professional Classical Sequence Champions. The treated us all to a lovely, stylish demonstration of this style in the classic manner in which it should be danced.
All the ladies dresses were amazing and the men didn’t look too shabby either!! As usual everyone showed great support for each other and shared in the triumphs and disappointments of the others and of course a little civilized celebration was in order afterwards.
All too soon it was time to return home but we could all bask in the warm glow of another highly successful weekend, one which we hope to emulate when we return next week. Congratulations to all involved and needless to say we are proud of you all.
It seems like a long time since we had a school outing and so it was with great excitement that some of our couples set forth to Whitby to gain some pre Blackpool experience. Many of our dancers look forward to the competitions at Whitby, held in the fabulous Spa ballroom perched high on the cliffs overlooking the sea.
We had five couples competing: Andy and Dawn, Dennis & Sue, Paul & Karen, Josh & Grace and Craig & Lydia. Unfortunately Louise and I were adjudicating near Durham so we didn’t arrive until later in the day, just in time to see the Latin.
Josh and Grace, dancing in their first competition together since Grace turned 16 in August, had an exceptional day winning all five of their competitions. We look forward to their continued success in the future. Andy & Dawn were placed first in both of the senior finals with Dennis & Sue placed second. Paul & Karen made all of their finals receiving 2nd, 3rd, two 4th’s and a 5th placings.
Unfortunately a few days before the competition Lydia tore a muscle in her shoulder. However she was still keen to compete although the injury naturally impaired their performance. Nevertheless they still made all of their semi finals and managed a 5th place in the Samba competition. It just goes to show the dedication of all our dancers and their determination to not allow set backs get in the way.
An enjoyable and successful day was had by all and of course a trip to Whitby would not be complete without a visit to the Magpie Cafe for local fish and chips!
Of course we have many activities on the horizon and Boris and the Bears have been busy making sure that all preparations are complete for the coming weeks. Firstly we have the British Sequence Championships at Blackpool followed two weeks later by the ISTD Grand Finals also in Blackpool, in which most people are involved either as competitors or supporters. I am sure both will be great weekends and we hope to be able to report further achievements.
We then have the Medal Day in December followed quickly by Strictly George Spencer and then the Christmas Party to round of the year.
There is plenty to look forward to, so watch this space for further reports.
It was a grey and wet morning which greeted us as we set forth to the last qualifier before Grand Finals at Blackpool in October and therefore the last chance for some to qualify in all their events. Our spirits were not dampened however and we had almost a full turnout of competitors and bears for the occasion. David even came along on his Birthday to see his grand-daughter, Grace S, who still needed to qualify in her Latin event which, happily she did. Also completing their qualifications today were Iris and Karen C so a huge well done to you all.
As always their were many highlights but to report a few:
Luke finishing 2nd in both his Ballroom and Latin events competing in the Under 8 years category and wowing the crowd with his Samba in the 3 dance event.
Leila taking 1st place in both her ballroom and Latin events, finishing 4th in the Sequence and winning both Ballroom and Latin couples events with Jack.
Karen H and Allison both completing a hat trick of wins in their Ballroom, Latin and Sequence events.
Grace P winning both her Ballroom and Latin events and also winning both Ballroom and Latin couples events with Olivia who also made both her Ballroom and Latin Finals.
Molly making the final of the Sequence event as well as her Ballroom and Latin Finals.
Leila, Miriam and Grace S all making their Latin final with Grace S also making her Ballroom Final.
Craig winning his ballroom event, making the finals of his Latin and also the couples Ballroom and Latin events with Lydia who also made the final of her Ballroom and Latin events.
Josh and Sarah D winning their Ballroom couples event.
Christine and Carla both winning their Ballroom events and making the final of their Sequence events with Carla also making the final of her Latin event. Christine did not compete in the Latin section
Paul, Hazel, Sue, Dennis, Geraldine, Iris, and Karen C all made finals too so great day was had all round and the encouragement from our band of supporters was fantastic as usual.
We must also record a huge thank you to our partners on the day namely Luke and Liam who come along especially for this sole purpose. Thanks also to Josh for his contribution and to Karen H for resuming her partnering together with the added responsibilities of looking after Olivia.
Boris Bear sends his congratulations to everyone and says it has been a privilege seeing all your performances over the last few months, a view echoed by all his co-mascots. He now heads off on his own Summer break to Bearmuda and is looking forward to a bit of R and R before the hard work begins in earnest in September. He hopes you have a pleasant holiday season and looks forward to seeing everyone again in Blackpool if not before.
Following on from an exhausting day the week before some of our intrepid dancers were once again in action at the Supadance Championships, a pretigious sequence event held at the lovely Walsall Town Hall. Liam and Alex and Stuart and Andrea were in action in the Amatuer and Senior Classical Sequence Championships respectively. I am pleased to report that Liam and Alex won their event and Stuart and Andrea were placed third, a position they also secured in their Modern Sequence event.
Andy & Dawn, Neil & Carla and Dennis & Sue were all in action too and all three couples made the final of their Modern Sequence event against a strong field.
Andy & Dawn and Neil & Carla also made their Classical Sequence final with Andy & Dawn finishing 3rd and Neil & Carla 5th. In the Open Saunter Together event Andy & Dawn and Dennis & Sue both made the final finishing 3rd and 4th respectively.
Everyone rose to the occasion and gave a great performance with some noticeable improvements. Well done to you all.