NATD Ballroom Qualifier

It was not such an early morning this time as the event was on our doorstep. We ventured to Kirkby in Ashfield for the second NATD qualifier for the Blackpool Tower medallist finals. We had pretty much a full team turnout and although it was essentially an in-house affair it was still good for everyone to gain some “match practice”.

Lessons are vital, of course, but you cannot replicate the effect of getting dressed up in your dance clothes and performing in front of a panel of adjudicators and a knowledgeable audience, which is essential for those looking to do well in competitions.

Naturally everyone managed to qualify and so will be eligible to dance at Blackpool which will be a whole new and exciting experience for some. There were some good performances today with many people raising their game, owhich they will need to do at the Tower, particularly in the couples events where some people had been put together without much practice and still managed to give a good account of themselves. The juveniles especially have some difficult dances to perform and all of them rose to the occasion well.

The highlight of the day was the “all in” Ragtime Swing which was a change partner event and had a real sociable feel to it. Juveniles, juniors and adults all partnered each other and everyone had a smile on their faces as they danced around. The finalist in order of merit were: Jack and Dawn, Craig and Carla, Andrew and Carol, Paige and Allison, Ellie and Karly and Grace and Phoebe. Well done to everyone for entering into the spirit of the event.

Of course Boris and his merry band of bears (and Arabella) were in attendance to lead the cheers and keep a keen eye on proceedings and the support from all the parents and followers was terrific. 

Well done to everyone who came along today, it was a real team effort in which everyone played their part.

We have a slight lull in the competitions over the next few weeks as we work hard for the exams in two weeks before we start again in June and the run up to Blackpool!

Southport Easter Festival

Easter turned out to be a real scorcher this year and not just because we had four days of warm sunny weather but we were at the Southport Easter Festival with three days of action packed sequence competitions. The team this year consisted of Josh & Grace, Stuart & Andrea, Neil & Carla, Andrew & Dawn and Craig & Emma.

The competitions began about 2pm on Friday and we finished around 11.30pm on the Sunday night (not continually I might add) but nevertheless quite an endurance test for those who were spectating as well as the dancers.

Friday saw all couples in action with Craig & Emma winning both of their events closely followed by Neil & Carla in second place and Andrew & Dawn in fourth in the same events. Stuart & Andrea won one of their events and came second in the other whilst Josh & Grace finished fifth in their event. A good start to the weekend then, could it be repeated over the next two days?

Boris was pleased to see that Liam bear came along but was disappointed to see the neither Alexandra or Logan were in attendance. Some said that Alexandra had gone to Australia with her namesake but Boris thought this unlikely. the two Liam’s were able to console each other however at having been dumped by their respective partners!

The team were back in action on the Saturday and again won all of their events with Neil and Carla keeping them on their toes in second and Andrew & Dawn also made all of their finals as well. Stuart & Andrea were placed second in one of their events and third in the other two whilst Josh & Grace made all of their finals. Saturday night ended with a party which gave everyone a chance to mingle with fellow competitors and attendees away from the competitive environment and it was good to see all ages mixing together in this way, which is what the festivals are all about.

After a brief interlude for sleep we were back in action once again on the Sunday which began with a visit from The Easter Bunny (aka Louise). Today saw the revival of the Southport Eight Dance events which are a test of  both memory and stamina in addition to ability. Once again Craig & Emma took top honours with Carla & Neil in third and Andrew & Dawn in fifth. In the Senior eight dance event Stuart & Andre finished third whilst Josh & Grace were sixth in their event. Not only did the dancers have the eight dance events to contend with but they had other competitions as well with Craig & Emma repeating the, by now, familiar pattern of winning with Neil & Carla in second and Andrew & Dawn also making the final.

The finale of the weekend came with the open Latin sequence event which was a five dance event including the challenging Tauromachia Paso Doble. This proved quite a test for some of our dancers who nevertheless applied themselves and acquitted themselves admirably on the night. Josh & Grace finished third with Craig & Emma fourth, Neil & Carla fifth and Andrew & Dawn sixth.

We finally retired to the bar to relive the highlights and contemplate another highly enjoyable and successful weekend.

Boris also made some new friends, Gordon and Sybil, who he was very pleased to meet and hopes they may put in an appearance at future events.

“Boris in his penthouse suite”

No long to draw breath before the NATD qualifier next Sunday which hopefully will lead to another enjoyable and successful weekend in July. 

NATD Latin Qualifier

Yesterday the team set forth to Daventry for the first of the NATD Blackpool qualifiers. There were some familiar faces along with some who were dipping their toe into this kind of event for the first time and all hoping to qualify for a place to dance at the iconic Blackpool Tower ballroom.

We have been to Daventry on previous occasions but not since it has been a qualifying event so it was a new experience for many. This time the events were for the Latin qualifiers with the ballroom ones being held later in the month. The standard is always quite high here particularly in the lower age groups and so all the juveniles who managed to qualify did particularly well.

Congratulations then to Phoebe, Lewie, Tabatha, April, Chloe, Brooke, Isobel, Paige, Grace S, Fearn, Brian, Heather, Sian, John, Carol, Kathryn, Georgina, Peter, Jack, Alison T, Chris, Serena, Karly, Paul, Carla, Allison, Neil, Karen, Xingye, Dawn, Andrew, Hazel, Debbie and Rosalind who all managed to secure their place at Blackpool.

As mentioned the largest entries were in the Juvenile age groups and so Phoebe did very well to make the final 10 with her Samba, a difficult dance at any age. Lewie secured fourth also with his samba and April and Tabatha finished second and fourth with their rumbas. Brooke and Chloe made it a one-two in their samba event by being placed first and second, Paige and Isobel, in their event secured second and third whilst Grace S had a “dance off” for her second place and Fearn finished fifth in the same event. There were first places today for Jack, Chris, Serena, Paul, Allison, Neil, Karen, Dawn, Andrew and Rosalind so well done to everyone who took part, there was a great team spirit as always and lots of support for all the team.

There followed the annual Ragtime Swing events which always have by far the largest entries and today was no exception with all three events requiring two heats and several recalls. Chloe and Brooke made it to the semi final of their event and Jack & Isobel finished second in their event with Paige and Grace not far behind in fourth. Paul & Karen made it to the final finishing second as did Andrew & Dawn who were placed fifth. No trophies this time but well done to everyone who took part particularly the impromptu partnerships.

Finally we made it to the ballroom couples events and once again the team enjoyed successes. April & Tabatha were second in their event as were Lewie and Phoebe. Chloe & Brooke were placed fourth in their event and Paige & Grace S were fifth with their quickstep. There were wins for Jack & Isobel, Paul & Karen and Andrew & Dawn with Chris & Serena and Peter & Carol securing second places in their events only being beaten by others from our school. Ellie & Kaitlyn narrowly missed out on winning the Rose Bowl by being placed second but danced their Cha Cha Cha very well together.

Thank you to all the supporters, it made for very enjoyable day and also to Luke for coming along to help with partnering.

Boris was pleased to see so many of his chums and was especially pleased to welcome new recruit Hector to the family and to hear that he was being well treated in his new home.

The next outing will be 28th April for “part two” make sure you don’t miss it.