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It was a soaking wet Sunday in May when I went to the Worcester Trophies competition at St. John’s Sports Centre, dragging my mum with me. The gloomy weather did nothing to dampen the atmosphere of the event, organised by Tony and Christine Hunnissett. Spurred on by Paul’s belief that I needed to see a competition ‘up close’ we fought our way into the packed sports hall. If there is anybody left in the country that doesn’t believe in the popularity of Ballroom and Latin dancing then this would definitely have convinced them. All the chairs and tables were occupied by competitors and spectators and people were stood in rows three or four deep on every available inch of floor space.

The first thing that struck me was the vast array of bright colours and sequins that were on display. Everywhere you looked there were women in heavily sequined ballroom dresses in every colour imaginable compete with perfect hair and make-up and truly dazzling smiles. The men were no less well turned out with very shiny shoes and a not inconsiderable amount of hair gel! I’d originally gone to watch the Adult Ballroom section but the event was running late so the Junior Latin competition was still ongoing. The Junior and Juvenile dancers were amazing. The ability they displayed and the enthusiasm and energy they contributed to every move was awe-inspiring. Each routine was choreographed to perfection and executed just as well accompanied by the deafening cheers of their family and friends. The sheer stamina of these young competitors was fascinating, they were very often in more than one section of the competition and had to dance several routines consecutively. Despite the physical and mental strain this must have put them under their determination and sheer enjoyment was evident in their eyes with every step that they took.

The Adult Ballroom competition was no less spectacular. With categories ranging from novice and beginner to intermediate there was an opportunity for dancers of all abilities and experience to showcase their talents. The variety of steps used was astounding as every effort was made by the couples to impress the adjudicators. One of those hard working adjudicators was Dale Bennett, Darren’s twin brother. Throughout a long day on his feet Dale managed to complete his duty as an adjudicator whilst also having time to chat to the spectators and perfect the ability to jump off the edge of the dance floor when some of the couples got a little too enthusiastic in the quickstep. Who said ballroom dancing isn’t dangerous? Talking of which the event was also a master class in floor craft. We’ve all tried to make our way round the floor in Malvern without stepping on each other’s toes, but try executing the perfect Foxtrot with thirty other couples doing the same steps in a different order and a different direction! These couples however  managed it without any trouble. The adult competitors showed no less stamina or enthusiasm than their younger counterparts as they repeatedly tackled the Waltz, Quickstep, Tango, Foxtrot and even the odd Viennese Waltz. They must have been exhausted by the end of the event but one thing was clear, you couldn’t have dragged any of them off that dance floor if you’d tried. Every now and then there is a couple who really stand out and this competition was no exception. There was one couple from Holland who were totally mesmerizing. Every time they took to the floor they blew away the competition with absolute style, elegance and ability. They were truly a joy to watch.

The one thing that really struck me at this event apart from the dedication and enthusiasm of all involved was the camaraderie between the competitors. I’ve been to many competitive sporting events in recent years and never before have I witnessed such a close-knit group of individuals all competing against each other. There was genuine respect and affection between all involved and on the rare occasion that only one couple had entered a particular class, the rest of the competitors clapped along in the Quickstep and raised the roof in admiration when they’d finished.

We left the competition seven hours after we’d arrived just as the Adult Latin section was starting and many of the Ballroom couples were changing outfit and shoes to start all over again. Having learnt a great deal and enjoyed myself even more one thing is certain, I’ll be beating down the doors next time they hold one of these competitions and if anyone ever hands me a sequined dress and gives me the chance to take part the only thing I’ll be thinking is,  ‘Where are my shoes?’

                                                                                                                                                                      ~  Marie Watton

Ever wondered what it was like to attend a dance sport competition?                   Read on ~

Worcester Dance 
Competition Report
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