As the days get colder, the dancing season gets hotter. And it doesn’t get much hotter than the British National Dance Championships, which are running from Thursday 15th until Saturday 17th November in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. This event is a celebration of all things Latin and Ballroom. If that in itself hasn’t tempted you to come and join the party, read on!
About The Festival
Whilst the eight-day May festival in Blackpool is an international extravaganza, the British National Dance Championships are a home-grown event that exclusively showcases British talent. Held over three days, the Championship is one of the most anticipated dates on the competitive calendar. Last year, there were 499 entries and ten formation teams, all of whom gave a spectacular show. If you want to see what we mean, try this tantalising photo gallery, which captures the action both on the stage and behind the scenes in 2016.
Take Your Pick
With 25 categories, there is something for everyone. Classes include Juvenile, Junior, Under 21, North of England Amateur, Senior, Amateur, and Professional. The championships attract all the best in Britain, so we are looking forward to seeing plenty of pairs of Ray Rose shoes gracing the feet of our sponsored couples and dedicated supporters.
You can register here, and you can also take a look at last year’s winners to see who you’ll be up against. Last year, the Cha Cha Cha was won by Gunnar Gunnarsson and Marika Doshoris, currently ranked 12th in the world, so expect some formidable performances.
Step Into History
The atmosphere inside this special venue is always electric. When the Winter Gardens ballroom was unveiled in 1896, it was crowned The Empress. At the time, it more than deserved that title: it was one of the largest ballrooms in the world. Over 120 years later, the name still holds true. Not only is it lit by twelve glass chandeliers, which cause the gold and white vaulted ceiling to shimmer, it also features one of the sole surviving sprung dance floors in the country. You can see a wonderful archive of photographs of this special venue here.
And about that unique dance floor…
The dance floor is always of interest to those who care about how their shoes will perform. We mentioned in an earlier post that the International Dance Championships at the Royal Albert Hall use a birch sprung floor, which creates a unique and unusual performance surface. The Empress’ floor is even more unusual. Laid in 1934, this antique is made of oak, mahogany, walnut and greenwood – hard woods that create a very firm surface. The entire platform sits atop 1,320 springs. This alters the way that the forces travel between the body and the floor, and many inferior quality shoes simply bounce these back up into the vulnerable bones of the feet. That’s why it’s so important to have shoes with the correct orthotics, particularly around the metatarsal and heel. This dance floor truly is an iconic battleground, and in more ways than one!
This is a stunning championship, both to compete in and to view as a spectator. It attracts many world-renowned competitors, as well as all of the up-and-coming British champions. It’s a place to see and be seen. We always love a trip to Blackpool, and will look forward to seeing you there.