Can it really be a year since we were last at the ISTD Grand Finals in Blackpool? Yet here we all were once again at the world famous Wintergardens, Twenty eight dancers supported by an entourage of family, friends, well wishers and bears. Just to qualify to dance at Blackpool amongst some of the countries best medallists is a major achievement and anything else is a bonus. It was fantastic then that almost all dancers got at least one recall with most making the semi final of their event and fourteen of them made at least one final with some making more than one.
We had six first timers this year: Olivia, Grace P, Chris, Craig Topham, Craig Taylor and Hazel. Blackpool can be daunting, especially for anyone who has not competed there before but all coped magnificently under the pressure. Hazel reached her ballroom semi final and Olivia and Chris both made their ballroom finals finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively. Grace P went one better with a 6th place in her ballroom and a 3rd place in her Latin events.
In the other Junior events Grace S made the semi finals of both her ballroom and Latin events, Lydia earned a 4th place in her ballroom event and Molly was runner up in her ballroom event. All of the competitions started with 40 or more competitors all of whom had had to qualify to be there so these results were terrific and well deserved.
Sunday morning brought the Sequence events and most of our dancers were in action from 8.30am. Again competition was intense. Allison, Carla, Serena and Neil all made their final as did Christine, Sue, Dennis and Andy, with Andy winning the event for a magnificent 4th time and Christine being placed 2nd.
The rest of the day was devoted to the Adult ballroom and Latin events and Serena, Paul, Allison and Neil all reached their ballroom finals with Serena winning her event. The end of the day saw the couples events with Dennis and Sue, Andy and Dawn and Neil and Carla all in action. All of them made both their ballroom and Latin finals with two 2nd and one 3rd places in the ballroom and two 5th and one 6th place in the Latin.
After starting at 8.30am Saturday morning we finally finished at 10.30pm Sunday evening, a very long and tiring weekend for all concerned but very enjoyable and worthwhile. Well done to everyone who took part, you were magnificent whatever your results and we are proud of you all
A huge thank you must go to those who give up their time to come along and partner for us: Luke, Ruth, Liam and Alex. Not only at Blackpool, but at lessons, and also the qualifying events throughout the year. Thank you also to those of you who have partnered as well as competing yourselves throughout the year, in particular Josh, Emily, Charlotte and Karen. We could not do it without you all and it is very much appreciated by everyone.
Many thanks also to all the parents, family, friends and supporters who come along to support and cheer us on, and finally to Boris and the team who attend every competition and sit patiently for many hours never once complaining!
We now look forward to the Medal Test session at the beginning of December followed the week after by Strictly George Spencer, which once again promises to be an event not to be missed. We then have a short respite over the Christmas period before we swing back into action once more in January.