at Blackpool Dance Festival
|Author: Becky Garcia
IT is every dancer's dream to compete in the world's first and
foremost festival of dancing, the longest-running competition in
the world, the Blackpool Dance Festival, now on its 74th year,
organized by the British Dance Council.
Every year on the last week of May, dancesport competitors,
amateur and professional, the youth and seniors troop to
Blackpool, a good four-hour drive from London, to outdance
each other in a dance marathon.
For one whole week Blackpool is a dance haven. You can see
the streets and restaurants surrounding the Winter Gardens, the
venue of the competition, with the competitors all beautifully
Events start 10 a.m. and end 12 midnight. There are nine daytime
adjucators and 11 evening adjucators, mostly British nationals.
In every event, there are about 300 couples divided into heats
(groups), with about 20-25 couples per heat in the first
qualifying round. In the second qualifying round, they trim it
down to 12-15 couples per heat. So in the first round, it is down
to 72 couples; second round, 60 couples; third round, 48
couples; fourth round, 24 couples; semifinals, only 12 left; and
the finals with six couples to compete for first, second and third
places. The grouping varies depending on the time frame and
number of competitors.
Simultaneous with this week-long festival, the World Dance and
DanceSport Council, the professional body in dancesport, holds
its annual general meeting and election of the board every two
years. This year is an election year. The Professional Dance
Teachers Association of the Phils., of which I am a director,
having been made a full member of WD&DSC, was represented
in the meeting.
Maribel Dario, consultant of the In the Mood Ballroom Dancing
Club, was supposed to be with me in this meeting.
Unfortunately, due to the arrogance of the visa officer at the
British embassy here, she was not issued a visa even after all
the letters of recommendation from the World Dance Council,
and even after the telephone call from one of the directors of the
World Dance Council to the said visa officer, who banged the
telephone on his fellow countrymen.
By refusing to issue a visa to Maribel, they deprived the
Philippines of representation, to be able to gain more knowledge
about dancesport from the English coaches and dancers who
are supposed to be the authority on it. What a pity!
The election this year was a coup, because after several English
presidents and English-dominated board, the new
president-elect after Robin Short is a German, Karl Breuer, a
lawyer who has a close relationship with Asian countries. We
can look forward to more cooperation and support from the
Several activities and meetings are held before the annual
general meeting, usually on the last day of the festival. There is
the World Ballroom Dancing Congress sponsored by the British
Dance Council and WD&DSC.
Interesting topics are: ''Cha Cha Cha Choreography''; ''Creating
Impact in the Waltz''; ''Dancing Trends for the Millennium--Jive
and Rumba''; ''Expression and Action in the Viennese Waltz'';
''How to Produce Juvenile and Junior Champions''; ''Thoughts
on Tango''; ''The Art of Dance Exhibition''; ''The Paso Doble,
Samba, Foxtrot and Quickstep Choreography''; ''How to Put the
Show into a Showdance''; ''The Ladies' Role in the Dance''; ''The
Three Controlling Factors: Balance, Timing and Muscular''; ''The
Magic of Dance.''
All of these topics are conducted by World DanceSport
champions, top coaches and top adjudicators.
There are two big committees in the World Dance and
DanceSport Council. The dancesport committee is chaired by
Donnie Burns, while the social dance committee is chaired by
Marcel De Rijk, who has visited the Philippines several times to
conduct workshop with the Dance Sports Council. Burns has a
title of MBE (Member-British Empire), an honor given by the
Queen for public services to dancesport.
There was also the World Social Dance Congress sponsored by
the social dance committee, in which they had workshops on
the different dances such as retro from Spain and France;
streetdance/MTV dancing; dance business in Europe; American
swing on big-band music; flamenco; salsa, new style; river
dance from Ireland. We must remember that competitive dancing
starts with social dancing.
Our top-ranking Latin couple, John Co and Belinda Adora, had
the experience competing against other champions. The
Amateur Latin event had 302 couples participating and was
composed of 14 heats. Co and Adora were in Heat 13.
The Philippine delegation had Savannah (Ruby Co and Jocelyn
Poon) and ballroom supporters Vivian Co and Gloria Garcia
cheering for our entry. They did their best!
We look forward to the next Blackpool Dance Festival on May
26, 2000. Perhaps we can bring a bigger Philippine delegation, or
organize a dance tour to Blackpool, which we wanted to do this
year but had no time.
General assembly and workshop
THERE will be a general assembly and workshop July 13-14 at
the Ninoy Aquino Stadium to be conducted by Donnie Burns,
14 times undefeated World Latin Champion, who will be arriving
on July 12 for a gala show at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel
Burns will also conduct a ranking among our local dancesport
competitors. The winner will be our representative to the IDSF
Asia-Pacific DanceSport Championship in Taipei on Oct. 9.
We are calling all DSCP members, city and regional chapters and
affiliates of the DSCP, to come and join this important assembly,
which coincides with the third anniversary of the council.
For more information, call 752-0435/36, 817-4141/2935.