ISTD Sequence Qualifier

Yesterday was the ISTD Sequence Qualifier and Inventive Dance competition and once again the team turned out in force. Since this is only a qualifier for the Blackpool three dance events it is usually a short day and the entries are usually small but nevertheless it gives some the opportunity to qualify that haven’t already done so and valuable floor experience for those that have, which cannot be replicated in lessons.

As usual the support from all of our team was fantastic and there were wins today for April, Jack, Grace P, Neil, Dawn and Carla. Unfortunately in April’s category she was the only one and so had to dance on her own (partnered by Liam of course) which is no easy task. However she rose to the occasion and produced a seemingly nerveless performance.

Well done to everyone today both dancers and supporters for showing great team support and unity. Once again we need to thank our team of helpers; Ruth, Liam, Luke, Grace P, Josh and Emily for partnering, Jean and Maria for helping on the door and Julie for helping with the music.

There is a brief interlude now before a busy April with some of you competing at  the Southport Easter Sequence festival and also we have the two NATD qualifiers which we hope you will all support even if you can’t make the finals at Blackpool.

The Mystery Blogger Strikes Back

The first Sunday in March meant the first Dancesteps competition of the year. So early, especially for all of us adult competitors who are used to a later start, on a grey and rainy day we found ourselves in Kirkby in Ashfield and for the first time, for many of us, at a new venue The Festival Hall.

The Duesbury Aldred Dance School was out in force with an impressive mix of dancers and spectators taking up the entire length of one side of the room. For some there was first competition nerves mingling in with the nerves of the more seasoned competitors but once the music started, we were off.

No one disappointed. We were thoroughly entertained with a fabulous display of dancing, in the individual sections, from the very youngest, special mention must go to little Olivia, to the oldest of the team. Everyone performing at their very best. And not forgetting those partnering who worked incredibly hard to help all the dancers shine even earning themselves the odd shiny face for their efforts.

Louise, who had luckily regained her voice, kept the competition moving along helped by many well-known faces and a new assistant who oversaw the music. Before we knew it, the couple’s competition was announced. This was the last of the categories for most of us, including myself, and we saw some new pairings alongside the familiar. Again, everyone worked really hard putting into practice all the training that goes on during the week.

Then came the presentations which represented another first. The rewarding of tokens to all the adult competitors who had made a final instead of a trophy. These are to be exchanged for donations to the charity we were able to vote for on the day. A fantastic idea that I hope will definitely be repeated.

The Dance School received great results, across all the age groups, with many of our competitors making a final. Well done to everybody. It is great to see all your hard work rewarded.

Last, but not least, the one thing that was not a first is the amazing support and enthusiastic cheering that our Dance School generates every time we have dancers on the floor. You all make it a pleasure to be part of.

I look forward to the next competition.

Dancesteps Competition 2019

Looking at the unseasonably warm, sunny weather we have been enjoying recently it seems hard to imagine that at this event last year we were in the grip of “The Beast From The East” and a number of people were unable to attend due to the snow!

Once more our team of dedicated dancers gathered for our competition this time at a new venue in Kirkby in Ashfield which although a little further out for some, it suited our needs and provided a cosy atmosphere. At our own events our regular team are joined by some less experienced dancers, as well as some first timers. We also had several who although not new to competitions were dancing with us at this event for the first time.

Boris always looks forward to these events as he gets the chance to catch up with old chums he doesn’t get to see too often and was pleased to see Arabella once more. There is always a friendly, team atmosphere and this was once again in evidence. Our more experienced competitors also get the chance to “step up to the plate” and partner some of the less experienced ones as well as compete themselves.

First timers at this event were Olivia Rose, Ashton, Sian and George who all gave a good account of themselves. Sian and George were placed first and second in their waltz event and Sian also won her latin event. Olivia Rose came third with her walks and points and Ashton made the final of the ballroom couples event with Phoebe. A good first outing and hopefully one to build on for the future.

Dancers had come from as far away as Hull and Newbury and many of the events had good levels of entries and also a good standard of dancing. For some of our dancers it was an opportunity to measure themselves against dancers from other schools in preparation for their attempts to qualify for the “Blackpool experience” with the NATD in April. Which is an exciting addition to our dancing calendar this year.

There were numerous finalists and everyone danced really well but  making it onto the top step of the podium this time were: Kaitlyn, Jack, Craig, Chris, Peter, Molly, Karly, Allison, Grace P, Tabatha, Sian, Chloe, Lewie, Karen, Serena, Carol, Paul and Brooke. Also winning their couples events were: Paul & Karen, Craig & Karly,Grace P & Molly and Jack & Grace S. Apart from the winners there were also a number who made finals that perhaps did not expect to so well done to everyone who took part.

Another new innovation at this event was our charity donation scheme. Many of our regular competitors acquire a good many trophies over the years which is great since it means they are doing well, but it does also mean they run out of space for them at home. Furthermore they are not entirely environmentally friendly being made of plastic and marble. Whilst acknowledging that younger dancers and newer competitors like to have mementos of their achievements and taking your feedback into account we decided that we could donate the money used to buy the trophies to good causes.

We therefore introduced a token scheme for our adult competitors who received tokens instead of trophies which they could then place into the collection box of the charity of their choice. This time the chosen charities were Diabetes UK, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and the British Wildlife Trusts. The amount to be donated to each charity will be proportion to the tokens placed in each box and were as follows: Diabetes UK 33%, Air Ambulance 47%, Wildlife Trusts 20%. Anyone wishing to exchange their tokens for a trophy or trophy for a token was welcome to do so but we hope you felt it was a worthwhile exercise. Please let us have your feedback and if popular we may extend it to our junior dancers next time. If feedback is positive then we will aim to support different charities each year.

Thanks once again to our team of helpers: Jean, Julie, Andrew, Rob and Debbie and of course the partners: Luke, Liam, Ruth, Karen, Grace P, Emily, Molly, Craig, Jack who have all come along willingly to lessons and classes to practise with their respective charges. A huge thank you to everyone we couldn’t do it without you.

Boris wore his paws to the bone with all the clapping but now has a short break before we have the next event which will be the ISTD Sequence Qualifier on 17th March followed closely by the NATD qualifiers in April. Make sure you don’t miss out!!