This year saw the the 5th series of Strictly George Spencer and in recognition of this we invited back six members of staff: Mary, George, Harry, Hymke, Steve and Debbie, along with eight students; Keshini, Ethan, Emily, Archie, Emma, Alex, Fenton and Sophie, who had all taken part in a previous series. As usual they were paired with our dancers; Luke, Liam, Alex, Josh, Grace, Emily, Molly, Olivia, Karen, Paul, Andy, Allison, Stuart and Craig.
Since they had all danced previously, the contestants had different rhythms to the ones they had had previously and more challenging choreography. This year we had chosen the Tango, Cha Cha Cha and Samba alongside the Slow Foxtrot, a notoriously difficult dance, and one which we had not used previously.
The show opened in dramatic style with Chris swirling his cape before tossing it to one side only to be resurrected in the form of Louise to perform a combination of Viennese Waltz and Paso Doble to “The Black Pearl”. An unusual combination which seemed to capture the audience’s imagination and set the scene for things to come
Our contestants were then introduced and following the usual ten weeks of training they performed their two routines and group dance in front of a capacity crowd of over 200 people and all did brilliantly. Our Judges; Claire, Andrew and Michelle then gave comments and it was obvious that they were impressed by the standard each of the competitors had reached in such a short space of time.
Whilst any of the couples were worthy finalists the ones selected for the final by the judges were: Harry and Grace, Hymke and Liam, Keshini and Craig, Ethan and Karen and Emma and Luke.
In a slight change this year the audience were then able to select a further two couples who they thought should also be in the final. This was to be done following the group dance and so the dancers took to the floor to perform a complex jive routine in which they did a great job. The two “wild cards” chosen by the audience were then announced as Archie and Molly and Fenton and Olivia.
Following this there was a Rumba/Cha Cha Cha routine performed by Craig assisted by Grace, Emily, Molly and Olivia which was very well received by the enthusiastic audience. As many of you will know, Craig was a competitor in the first series who then, having enjoyed it so much, joined the dance school and returned the following year as a partner. Since then he has gone on to achieve great success in competitions including winning his age and grade category at the ISTD Grand Finals in Blackpool. We therefore thought it fitting to include such a number in this celebration of the last five years.
The finalists all then performed their favourite dance once more and the judges scored each performance to guide the audience to who they thought should be crowned champion. All the couples improved on their first round performances and it was clear that it was going to be a difficult decision.
Prior to the announcement of the winners, Alex and Liam gave a lovely demonstration of a fusion of Waltzes during which a complete hush descended over the room and which received a standing ovation from the audience.
The moment had then arrived to announce the winners and they were announced as Ethan and Karen who had performed a lively and engaging Samba. They were popular and well deserved winners, congratulations to both of you.
Of course evenings like this don’t arrange themselves and we must extend our grateful thanks to the staff at George Spencer, especially John, for helping with the set up, lighting, filming and sound and a number of other tasks which help the event run smoothly. We also need to thank our dancers for giving up their time and taking time off work to assist in rehearsals and be available on the evening. Some of them have been present at each of the weekly sessions whilst others have had long journeys to make themselves available, we thank you all for your contribution it could not be done without you. Furthermore some of the ladies lent their dresses to the contestants so they would look the part, a very generous gesture. Also we would like to thank the parents of some our dancers for bringing them along to rehearsals each week again it is an invaluable contribution.
Finally a huge thank you once again to Chris for all the hard work he puts into the event to help make it the spectacle that it is, even though he is no longer at the school, and also for presenting the evening alongside Louise. The comments we have received from both those involved and the audience have all been extremely positive and confirm what a great show it is.
One of the enjoyable things about the show is seeing how not only the contestants have grown in confidence and ability but also how some of our dancers have developed along the way.
Finally, Boris remarked that it was a very enjoyable evening and definitely the best one yet.
Following the excitement of “Strictly” we had the annual Christmas party, the following evening at the Hilton hotel as last year. It gives everyone a chance to chill out and perhaps get to know people a bit better in a different setting. It is a great way to celebrate the end of another busy but enjoyable year as well as kick off the festive season.