Author Archives: Robert & Louise

NATD Trophy Day

It may only be a week after Blackpool but we were on the road again. Although, for some of us it was only a very short journey, this time to South Normanton.

It was the NATD North Midland area couples competition. This event has resided in several locations over the years. Originally it was at Burton Upon Trent, then more recently Friesland in Sandiacre and this year at a new venue in South Normanton.

It was a lovely venue with a smooth wooden floor and very tasteful decoration and lighting. The only problem was that the day attracted a few too many dancers and therefore we were rather a tight squeeze. Let’s just say we all knew each other a little better at the end of the day!

Couples in attendance today were Jack & Leila, Emily & Madeleine, Craig & Lydia, Chris & Karly, Andrew & Dawn and new to the team Paige & Wafiya.

Paige & Wafiya started the day off for us with a tie for 2nd in the 12-15yrs Beginner’s Ballroom, which was later followed by a 2nd place in the Beginner’s Latin. They also scored a 3rd in their All Girls Ballroom and 4th in the equivalent Latin event.

One of the special attractions of this event is that the major events are trophy holder events, where the winners retain a trophy for the following 12 months before it is competed for again. These trophies have over the years been donated and one of them is the Duesbury Aldred Trophy. This is competed for in the Boy/Girl 12-15yrs Ballroom event therefore Jack & Leila were under a certain amount of pressure to try to bring the trophy home. Of course, they rose to the challenge by winning this event and also the equivalent Latin competition and both the 12-13yrs events. A very proud day for their Mums, Dads, Grandmas, Grandad and Teachers.

Unusually for this day, the Adult events had the largest entry, with two recalls being needed to make a final. In the Open Adult Ballroom this was achieved by Craig & Lydia, Andrew & Dawn, Emily & Madeleine and Chris & Karly. Being placed 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively. This was a huge achievement especially as Craig and Lydia beat some regular winners and also it being Chris & Karly’s first competition together.

In the 16-35yrs ballroom again everyone made the final and Andrew & Dawn won the Over 35yrs event.

We then had some ‘serious fun’ in the Adult & Child events. As we had more adults than children in the team today, we were very much in demand with children from other dance schools. These competitions help to create a friendly atmosphere to the day. In the Adult with a child under 12yrs, all our Adults received at least one recall and after four rounds Craig and Andrew, with their partners, came 4th and 5th respectively.

In the Adult with a child aged 12-15yrs we had a duel on our hands as Jack danced with Karly and Chris with Leila. It was a very closely fought battle with Jack & Karly winning the event and Chris & Leila a very close second. Andrew & Wafiya and Paige & Dawn also joined in the fun. With Andrew & Wafiya coming 4th and Paige & Dawn getting two recalls to the semi final.

Overall, it was a lovely day, slightly shorter and less intense than the previous weekend although all have an important place in our dancing calendar.

On we go, exams next and then Strictly George Spencer.

P.S. Boris has some exciting news he wishes to share – although his species of bear has been extinct for some while now, he has managed to track down some closely related cousins who will soon be relocating to this area and are looking for good homes. Watch this space for an update.

ISTD Grand Finals – 2016

Blackpool in numbers: 35 competitors, 55 supporters, 7 bears, 30 hours spent in the ballroom, 67 semi-finalists, 36 finalists, 4 winners, 1 fantastic team.

It hardly seems like a whole year has passed since we were last at Grand Finals and yet here we were again ready to go again. The day began at 8.30am with the Juvenile and Junior events in which we had Luke, Grace S, Leila, Jack, Olivia and Molly participating, along with first img_1773timers at this event; Kaitlyn, Chloe and Isobel. Blackpool is always a high standard and, we say it every year, but the numbers and standard seemed higher than ever. img_1782img_1784Nevertheless our dancers performed magnificently as always and held their own. Everyone received at least one recall and most made at least one semi-final. Olivia, Leila and Jack all made a final and Luke reached both his finals, being placed 2nd in his ballroom event. The couples events followed and Luke & Chloe, img_1788Molly & Olivia and Jack & Leila were all in action. Again they all had at least two recalls with Luke & Chloe finishing 4th in their ballroom event and

img_1794

 

 

 

 

Jack & Leila a terrific 3rd in their Latin event from an initial entry of 55 couples. Some great performances from everyone and the bar had been set for the adults.

The day ended just after 8pm and there was barely time to eat before it was time to return to the ballroom for the evening dance. This gives people a chance to socialise and relax a little ahead of day two.
img_1798 img_1803 img_1804
The Sunday at Blackpool sees the sequence three dance events and all the adult competitions. Again we began at 8.30am with the sequence events and as there are no grades in these competitions, competition is always fierce. Most had at least one recall and 19 out of our 30 dancers got as far as the semi-finals with 9 of those going on to reach a final. Well done therefore to Grace S, Josh, Carla, Serena, Elizabeth, Christine, Sue, Andy and Allison.

img_1806 img_1808img_1809Next came the adult non-qualifying events and joining us for the first time at these events were Libbie, Debbie, Tony, Peter and Carol. All of them got at least one recall and Libbie, Peter and Carol made their ballroom finals and Libbie and Carol also made their Latin finals. Dawn was also placed 3rd in her ballroom event. In the ballroom Qualifier events, again almost everyone got at least one recall and eight dancers reached the semi-finals. Four went on to reach their finals: Geraldine won her event (a feat she repeated in her Latin), Craig finished 3rd, a great achievement as he had had to move up a grade this time after winning his event last year, and Iris and Karen C also made their finals finishing 6th and 5th respectively.

img_1811 img_1818 img_1821

The Latin events followed and this time Craig, Serena, Carla, Karen H, Iris and Geraldine all made their semi-finals with Serena, Iris and Geraldine going on to make the final.

img_1851img_1848

img_1794

After twelve hours in the ballroom the couples events began with the added excitement of having two floors and two competitions taking place at the same time. In spite of the potential for confusion all went smoothly and Josh and Grace P, Neil & img_1860 img_1857Carla and Chris & Serena all made their ballroom finals finishing 1st, 4th and 5th respectively. In the Latin events Dennis & Sue came 2nd in their event as did Neil & Carla. Josh & Grace P came 4th and Peter & Carol finished 6th.

Another exhausting day finished just after 11pm and we all retired to the bar in the hotel for food and alcohol to reflect on the day’s highs and lows. The overall view was that it was another great weekend even if all the results didn’t always quite go our way. You all looked amazing, gave great performances and showed your commitment and dedication.img_1832

Thanks once again to our loyal supporters and our fantastic team of partners: Luke, Ruth, Alex, Liam, Karen and Josh, we couldn’t manage all that we do without you and your generosity in giving up your time both during the weekend and for practising.

img_1834

 

Boris doesn’t have much time to recover as some of you will be in action again this weekend but he did have a great time meeting up with his chums and watching you all perform.

Next we have the NATD exam session and the much anticipated 4th series of Strictly George Spencer. Make sure you get your ticket as they will sell out quickly.

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.

img_1737b

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!!

img_1742aboris-3aboris-4img_1743a

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.

IMG_1698

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.