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Floral Hall, Southport - Saturday 1st July 2006


With only slight apology for the delay in writing this report, it has been just too hot to sit at my computer and tap away at the keyboard so, let’s start by mentioning the obvious, the weather at Southport. It was sweltering with temperatures in the 80s (old Fahrenheit) but we had the consolation of knowing it was even more hot outdoors than inside the Floral Hall. Right now I’ll say ‘Well Done’ to all the competitors, officials, adjudicators, and the dancing public for braving the heat and being there at the competition but, it was worth it, wasn’t it?

Perhaps not surprising, knowing the downturn in numbers attending sequence dancing in general, it was saddening to see some empty seats and a few names missing from the list of those competing. Nevertheless, there was a good turnout and even early in the day the atmosphere was lively. People were scanning their competition lists and exchanging friendly bets on what they thought would win today.

The competition started, as would be expected, bang on time at 10 am. Philip Diment, the IDTA President, introduced Jane Tumelty who was to compere the day’s event; Jane then set the ball rolling by giving everyone a chance to dance and, rather predictably, it was the Mayfair Quickstep. Then it was Go!

The five adjudicators were presented (names at top of Entries & Results listing) and they took their places at tables positioned around the edge of the dance floor.

Commencing with the Classical Sequence section, the very first dance shown was a Gavotte from Jayne Harwood & Stuart Perry. Stuart seems to be very much in demand, doesn’t he, as he partners various ladies – today he danced with Jayne and, later, a newcomer to these Inventives, named Sharon Davies. This section of 18 dances was completed and we had a recall of 14 to be demonstrated again. Each round was interspersed with opportunities for the audience to dance – despite the heat, the floor was full on each occasion. Throughout the day, the general dancing was led by a very popular couple, Arthur & Jean Parr. Getting back to the competition, within this Classical section were a couple of Two Steps and I must say those were both very well received by the audience. I just love Two Step music which always makes me want to get up and dance. Anyway, proceeding through to a semi-final with 10 dances, the Final round comprised just 5 of the original 18. Eventually the result was announced as a win for Neil & Lesley Marshall with their gavotte; this dance was entered as the Royal Gavotte but, as the name had previously been used Neil and Lesley changed it to the Windsor Gavotte, in recognition of this being the year of the Queen’s 80th birthday. I’m sure this dance will be greatly enjoyed by the many lovers of true Classical/Old Time.

At some stage, Jane Tumelty did announce to the audience, who were very responsive with their approvals, that loud support might influence the judges’ decisions – whether or not this is true, many thanks should go to today’s audience because I do know, as an ex-competitor, that applause certainly does give encouragement to the dancers.

Next was the Modern Sequence section with a total of 20 dances; 16 of these were recalled then 11 went through to the semi-final. When it came to the Final round, an announcement was made that the marking had been so close, just 4 dances would be demonstrated again. This number included 2 dances from Ann Brown & Michael Stevenson; it’s good to see this partnership back among the competitors. Much speculation took place as to which dance would win and I could hear people exchanging their predictions, some of which turned out to be correct when the announcement was made. The winning Modern dance was the Welham Waltz from Edwin Vickers & Beverley Murch-Fowkes. This waltz was well danced and contains some very original amalgamations. Edwin and Beverley are doing well, aren’t they, having achieved several wins during recent months?

The last section was the Latin consisting of 17dances. There had been 18 entered but Graham & Avril Watkins had to withdraw their Rumba because Avril had a very painful toe. She told me that during August she will be having surgery on this troublesome toe. We hope it goes well, Avril, and look forward to seeing you back in the competitions. So, 17 dances were demonstrated. Unlike the previous two, this section did not have a round of Recalls but went straight through to a semi-final – I suspect this was due to time restrictions although I could be wrong, of course. With 12 dances going to the semi-final there was then a Final round, once again giving 4 dances to be reconsidered. I did hear that Steven Shaw & Helen Blackburn were hoping for success today as this would give them a total of 50 winning dances. Well, this was achieved when the winner of the Latin section was announced as the Jerrico Jive, from Steven & Helen.

It’s so easy to sit in the audience and make decisions on your favourite dances but, when it comes to actually making the choice as an adjudicator, it’s not so easy. We may often want to disagree but, to quote the idiom, "The Referee’s Decision is Final". If those are the best dances, then they are the winners. In time, these winning dances were all taught by the inventors, with their usual expertise. Well done, all of you, and congratulations on your success today.

I don’t often mention what people are wearing and perhaps I should. Many of the competitors go to a great deal of trouble over their appearance and all of them are always very well "turned out" (we sequence dancers do scrub up quite nicely, don’t we? !!!). The ladies were all beautifully dressed and their partners complemented this in wearing co-ordinating colours by way of their ties and, in some cases, their waistcoats or pocket handkerchiefs. I do remember that Helen wore a deep purple outfit and Valerie Gilligan was dressed in pale mauve – lovely colours. Sue Webster looked wonderful in a fitted black dress, quite different to her normal style and it suited her very well indeed. Many of the competitors now change into something more sympathetic to the style when it comes to the Latin, and this does complement their dances. Always very pleasing to the eye so, thank you everyone.

There doesn’t seem to be much more I can add other than to say this was a very well organised competition. Jane Tumelty was an extremely able compere – I enjoyed the additions from Philip Diment, with some references to the current international Football event! Sadly, that same evening our England team was beaten by Portugal, which just goes to show that even the best can’t always win! Playing of the CD music was in the hands of Jean Robson; a rather difficult job very well done – thank you, Jean.

Finally, my own Worthy Mentions. In the Classical section, whilst I will of course mention the Blues from Lissia & Ray, I very much liked the Saunter by Ann Brown & Michael Stevenson and have no hesitation in saying I liked Ian & Sue’s Two Step. In the Modern? Well, although I’ve debated with myself over this one have decided I’m entitled to my opinion so, will quite honestly say, I will pick the Elm Park Waltz from Lissia and Ray. When it comes to the Latin, my choice was also very popular with the audience and that is the Samba, by Valerie Gilligan & Ian Rowe.

Following the close of this competition we still had the evening Big Dance to look forward to, where the three new dances would be demonstrated. For now, everyone went away having had a very good day.

Thank you, everyone at the IDTA.

I wish you all Happy Dancing!

BRIDGET (Fenton-Storey)



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