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Article Written by Bernie Noy ( Year 9 )

On the weekend of January 5th- 7th 2017, my twin sister and I travelled to Blackpool to compete in the National Championships for Ballroom and Latin dance. Thousands of pairs, soloists and group dancers attended. It is the largest competition in the UK. To compete here you have to qualify and to qualify you have to compete regularly in smaller competitions and earn “points.” The “points” depend on where you place in your category.  Then, you qualify to the Britain's Best if you have enough points to prove you are at a high level. Finally, if you have placed at Britain best then you get through to the championships. Josie and I came 3rd at Britain’s Best which was excellent for us! There are many more ways to qualify for the championships but that is the way our dance school choose. Overall, in your category there are thousands of people you have to compete against to even get to Britain’s Best.

Blackpool is renowned for being the national centre for Ballroom and Latin dancing, with two famous ballrooms - The Winter Gardens and the Tower Ballroom.  We were dancing in the Winter Gardens and had to be ready by 7:30am which meant that Josie and I had to be up by 4am to do our makeup and hair as the Judges have very strict rules about these things and it had to be absolutely perfect.

We arrived and chose seats with the rest of our dance school.  It was a fabulous atmosphere with dancers having come from all over the world to compete and the dance floor was much larger than anything we’d ever danced on before.  We cheered and applauded the younger members of our dance school as they went up to dance, and before we knew it, it was our turn.   Josie and I walked out onto the dance floor.  We felt nervous and excited and then the music started… We had to do two dances of ballroom, (Waltz and Quickstep) and then wait about 3 hours before we danced two dances of Latin, (ChaCha and Jive.) We were only allowed to enter one category for each type of dance.

We didn’t manage to get through to the semi-final with either of our categories but later, when we analysed our points scored, we were very proud of the overall results. We got nearly full marks in our ballroom and did exceedingly well in Latin. This meant that we placed 15th in the UK for both Latin and Ballroom. It was a great experience and has definitely made us even more competitive as we want to be back next year and do better than we did this time.

Our favourite bit of the weekend was watching the adults later on in the evening.  There were pre-champ competitors there as well as amateurs and they danced so amazingly it has really inspired us to dance better and better. It was a weekend we will never forget.


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