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!!!