Author Archives: Robert & Louise

Blackpool – News Flash

The team has just returned from the annual trip to ISTD Grand Finals in Blackpool and what a weekend it proved to be. As always there was a mix of jubilation and disappointment but thankfully more of the former. The numbers and standard increase each year so just getting a recall is an immense task but everyone involved did just that. In total our dancers reached 35 finals and included some winners, a tremendous achievement not just from the competitors themselves but all the many supporters, partners and mascots of course.

Well done to everyone, a full report will follow.

Sequence Championships – Blackpool

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are starting to fall and there is a distinct chill in the air. It must be time for the first of our trips to Blackpool for the British Sequence Championships.

In action this year were Liam & Alex, Stuart & Andrea, Josh & Grace, Andy & Dawn, Dennis & Sue and Neil & Carla. The programme commenced on Sunday with the Modern Sequence events and the Senior Classical Sequence Championships. As always these events are keenly contested with the fabulous setting of the Wintergardens Ballroom and Empress Orchestra inspiring the dancers to give their very best performances.

img_1741bAs usual all our couples were superbly turned out and having worked hard over the past 12 months, produced some of their best dancing. Josh & Grace, Andy & Dawn, Dennis & Sue and Neil & Carla were all soon in action in their Modern Sequence Competition, all reaching the semi-finals. Neil and Carla made the Final finishing 6th, a great improvement from last year whilst Josh & Grace, competing here for the first time, won convincingly by winning all three dances. In the Senior Classical Sequence Championship, Stuart and Andrea finished 5th but nevertheless danced well and could have finished higher in a closely fought contest. Finally this evening Liam & Alex won the Amateur img_1736aModern Sequence Championship, the first time they have won this title and one they unfortunately missed out on last year due to Liam still recovering from an illness. a good start to the week then.

Monday, dawned grey and wet but that did not matter since we had another busy day ahead in the ballroom. In action today were, ourselves in the inventive dance competitions and Andy & Dawn, Dennis & Sue and Neil & Carla in their Classical Sequence Competion. All three couples danced well through their two early rounds to secure a place in the evening’s final. Neil & Carla danced their socks off and were placed 2nd, a terrific result, with Dennis & Sue and Andy & Dawn being placed 6th and 7th respectively. Whilst we also won with our Wisconsin Waltz.

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img_1734aAll too soon we reached the final day of the festival and in action today were Liam & Alex in the Amateur Classical Sequence Championship, Josh & Grace in the Under 35yrs Classical Sequence competition and Stuart & Andrea in the Senior Modern Sequence competition. Once again they all produced some excellent img_1738bdancing and Stuart & Andrea were placed 4th whilst Josh & Grace won their second event of the festival. A little later Liam & Alex completed a five trophy haul for the team by winning the Amateur Championship for a record 4th time, again img_1739bwinning all five dances comfortably. Sadly they have now decided it is time to retire from Sequence competitions, after having achieved so much, and we wish them well in whatever the future holds for them.

I am sure everyone will agree that it was a great weekend and one of which we can all be proud. The support everyone gave to each other was lovely and each could share in the success of others.

Boris is exhausted but after having a short rest he will be ready for the challenges that lie ahead and will be hoping for a repeat performance!!

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Cake By The Ocean

It was the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the NATD North Eastern Area competitions, first held at Scarborough and then at Whitby and in order to celebrate this a cake was presented to the Area Committee and shared amongst the participants at this year’s event.

img_1727We had a small team in action consisting of Paul & Karen, Craig & Lydia, Andy & Dawn and Dennis & Sue (and Boris of course). What we lacked in quantity however we certainly made up for in quality. Paul & Karen were placed 1st in all five of their events, Dennis & Sue came 1st in two of their events and Dennis also won the Adult and Child Quickstep with a junior from another school. Andy, Paul and Karen were placed 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in this event also.

Craig & Lydia were 2nd in three of their events albeit to Paul & Karen and Andy and Dawn also had three 2nd places. In those events where all four couples were entered they took the first four places and likewise in those events where two of them were entered they were placed first and second.

In fact the only slight glitch in proceedings was the Adult and Juvenile Cha Cha Cha event in which Paul was placed highest but could only manage a 4th place!!

Anyway the highlight of the day was of course the visit to the Magpie Cafe afterwards for fish and chips, what better way to round off a great day.

Boris of course has a busy couple of weeks ahead, there is the Sequence Championships in Blackpool commencing this weekend and then shortly afterwards, The ISTD Grand Finals on 4th and 5th of November. He says he is very excited to see you all dancing your very best and looks forward to an enjoyable, if exhausting fortnight.

Look out for further reports.

Chesterfield Sequence Competition

After the summer break the competition season kicked off again with our annual sequence competition at Stavely near Chesterfield. We had competitors from all over the country, including the Isle of Man all eager to gain valuable match practice ahead of the Blackpool Sequence Championships in October.

We had a number of dancers from our school competing as well, some who are regulars in this field and a number of others dipping their toe in the water for the first time.

The children’s events came first and we had Olivia & Molly and Jack & Leila dancing in some of the couples events whilst Grace S, Isobel, Chloe and Kaitlyn all danced in the solo events. All danced brilliantly as for most of them it was a new experience. Grace S made all of her finals, Olivia & Molly and Jack & Leila had a joint first place in one of the beginner/novice events and Chloe came first in one of her events.

img_1713aA great start to the day then and the adult events followed. Alex & Liam won the amateur classical sequence event and were second in the modern sequence. Stuart and Andrea were second in both of their events and Josh & Grace won both of their events whilst Paul and Karen were third in the same img_1708aevents. Neil & Carla, Andy & Dawn and Dennis & Sue and all made the final of Over 35 years Classical Sequence finishing 3rd, 4th, and 6th respectively.

Dancing in this type of event for the first time were Craig & Emily who won the intermediate section with Chris & Serena finishing 4th in the same event, a great result for both couples.img_1711a

The fun competition provided great entertainment and some of the non competitors joined in. A variety of dances were selected and competitors changed partners each round. The event was eventually won by Liam and Molly.img_1712a

img_1710aimg_1709aThe day seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended and was a great start to what will be a busy few months. Boris and the gang were of course on hand to lead the support which was very enthusiastic as usual.

A massive thank you to everyone who helped to make the event a great success, Dawn for the catering, Janice and Brian in the kitchen and Ruth, Caroline and Janet on the door.

Well done to all concerned and see you at the next event.

Final ISTD Qualifier

After a busy few weeks we had almost a full team outing to Castleford for the final ISTD qualifier of the year before Grand Finals in November.

Whilst nearly everyone had already qualified there were a few gaps to be filled and for others it was a chance to practise and hopefully gain valuable experience. A few of our regulars were missing today due to holidays and other things but we had three new little ones joining the team for the first time: Kaitlyn, Chloe and Isobel, three sisters. All did brilliantly with Kaitlyn finishing second in the under six year’s waltz, Chloe 2nd in the under 8 year’s waltz and Isobel 3rd in the Juvenile Primary section. In addition they each won their respective Latin events and Chloe was placed 5th in the Sequence. Well done girls, keep up the good work!

IMG_1692Grace S won both her ballroom and Latin events and was placed 2nd in the sequence whilst Luke won his ballroom event, was placed 2nd in the Latin and 7th in Sequence. Molly, Olivia and Jack all made their ballroom and Latin finals and both Jack and Olivia made the semi-final of the Sequence. Molly achieved 4th in the Sequence which is a creditable performance as this is always one of the toughest events.

The bar had been set high therefore for the adults as usual and the Sequence events were first. The under 35 year’s section was probably IMG_1696the largest entry of the day and Grace P, Josh and Emily all made the final which was a great result. In the over 35 year’s section Elizabeth, Karen, Carla, Neil and Chris filled the places from 2nd to 6th and Christine, Allison and Dennis all made the over 50 year’s final.IMG_1693

The successes continued in the ballroom and Latin individual events and there were wins for Grace P, Carla, Elizabeth, Iris Christine, Craig, Allison, Karen H and Neil. In the couples events there were also wins for Chris & Allison, Josh & Grace, Neil & Carla and Craig & Lydia. A great day overall then, with a good atmosphere and plenty of team spirit. Once again thanks to those who partnered: Liam, Alex, Josh and Karen and also to our vocal supporters.

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IMG_1699We now have a short rest over the Summer before the hard work begins again in September!!IMG_1701

Boris wishes you all a lovely summer and happy holiday if you are going away. He has his case all packed ready to visit friends and relatives in Sunny Bearbuda where he is looking forward to chilling out on the beach ready for the busy time ahead.

Supadance Sequence Championships

After the excitement of our competition at West Park a few of our IMG_1293couples travelled to the magnificent Walsall Town Hall Ballroom for the prestigious Supadance Sequence Championships. In action today were IMG_1329Liam & Alex, Stuart & Andrea, Andy & Dawn, Neil & Carla and Josh & Grace. All put on a good show against some stiff competition and can be pleased with their performances.

IMG_1336Liam & Alex won the Classical Sequence Championship and were placed second in the Modern Sequence. Josh & Grace won three of their events and came second in the other. Stuart & Andrea were placed second in their Modern Sequence and third in their Classical Sequence events. Andy & Dawn were placed IMG_13194th in two of their events and 5th in the other two whilst Neil and Carla had 4th, 5th and 6th placings in their events. A good day overall then and most of them will be dancing again in Lincoln this Sunday before the full team are once again in action at the ISTD qualifier at Castleford before the Summer break, if Summer ever arrives that is!

Mystery Blogger Strikes Again. At West Park!

It was the day of our own competition and the heavy rain which we experienced over the previous week failed to dampen the spirits of our intrepid band of dancers.

Boris particularly likes our competitions as he gets to sit on the stage and can inspect the dancing from a different viewpoint.

In addition to our regular team we had a number of dancers who were new to competitions and for some it was their first ever outing. Nevetheless all performed magnificently with many making finals. Stephen & Angela both won one of their individual events on their first outing and also first timers; Lizzy was placed 5th in one of her events  and Connie was placed 3rd in two of hers. Another new recruit, Georgina reached three of her finals being placed 4th, 5th and 7th.

Of our regular competitors we had numerous 1st placings many in more than one event. In the couples events the winners were: Olivia & Molly, Jack & Leila, Josh & Grace, Dennis & Sue, Peter & Carol, Paul & Karen and Andy & Dawn. Whilst in the individual events there were wins for: Miriam, Molly, Olivia, Sarah, Allison, Craig, Lydia and Chris.IMG_0981

There was a great atmosphere throughout the day and thanks must go to our many partners (Luke, Ruth, Josh, Grace, Molly, Karen, Craig, Paul, Andy Dennis, Emily, Olivia) and helpers who made it such an enjoyable and successful day.

Now for the report from our Mystery Blogger:

“Only a fortnight since the last competition and again we were all back, in force, at West Park for our own competition.

The event was assured to be organised, as the ladies were in charge. Maria and Bev were chosen for the day, to bounce any awkward customers at the door and Louise was in charge of the dance floor.

There is never any doubt that the Duesbury Aldred dancers would light up the room, giving those of us that are professional spectators something to cheer for. The youngest competitors were a joy to see on their journey from “Walks and Points” hopefully to dresses full of diamantes.

We didn’t make it easy for the judges today as the podium is always going to be a hard fought place, however it became even more difficult when trying to balance two couples on the first place spot. If I had my way I’d only build a 1st place platform as you’re all my favourites.

IMG_1062It wasn’t all about the dancing though, Janet whirled round the dance floor in the first half of the day collecting the raffle money in the swag bag, whilst in the second half Mrs Gamble cleaned up with some loot, winning three prizes.

Even when the day is nearly over, your feet are sore and a cup of tea is in order (or a pint in Dennis’s case) there’s still one thing that you can all muster and that’s a beautiful smile, that I get to see over and over!” MBIMG_1058

Can you guess who it is this time?”

P.S. Boris looks forward to seeing you all again at Castleford, the final competition before the Summer break.

 

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.