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Philippines represented at Blackpool Dance Festival
Source: Inquirer
Author: Becky Garcia
Date: 1999-06-22
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

made up.

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.

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