Friday, May 22, 2009

And We're Off!


Today is the first day of the marathon of dance incredibleness that is the Blackpool Dance Festival. Competition actually started yesterday, with the qualifying rounds for the Amateur Rising Star events, so today is the first day I actually went to watch. A bunch of people I know were dancing in the Senior (Over-35) Standard, so I went down to watch from the first round. Interspersed with the Senior Standard was the Professional Rising Star Latin, so I got to see a few rounds of that, too.

A pair of teachers from Dance Spectrum, the studio where I take lessons, were competing at Blackpool for the first time in the Latin event. I usually see Danielle Gozzi & Cecilia Giovacchini working with their students, so it was a real treat for me to see them competing in a big event. Cecilia's dress was stunning -- and she bought it off the rack the day before at the competition itself! I thought they danced really well, giving a really genuine performance, and was pleased to see them dance three rounds to get to the top 96.

Also appearing in the Latin, and getting through to the semi-final, was Kimberley Mitchell. She used to dance in the United States with Bill Sparks, and came out to the US again a couple of years ago for a one-off with Clive Uter. Her new partner's name is Christian Polanc. Kimberley looked great, I really liked her dress and her style was very fit and classy. I enjoyed seeing her dance again.

The Standard started with 226 couples, and seven US couples made the cut to the second round. Five got through to the "round of 48", one to the quarter-final, and a US couple even made the final! I was impressed with everyone's dancing, particularly with Evelyn Lafferty and Jody Frease. Both of these ladies have developed their stretch and poise and looked very composed and smooth yet strong.

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