Prepare to be moved as festivals step into town

Blackpool Sequence Dance Festival at the Winter Gardens' Empress Ballroom in 2012
Blackpool Sequence Dance Festival at the Winter Gardens' Empress Ballroom in 2012
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As the nation’s armchair dance lovers settle into the new season of Strictly Come Dancing, Blackpool is preparing to host two major dance festivals.

During the weekends of Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12 and Saturday to Tuesday, October 18 to 21 thousands of dancers and supporters will attend the British Streetdance and Freestyle Championships and Sequence Dance Festival in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens.

This weekend is the turn of the street and freestyle groovers, taking to the floor on Saturday in the street categories from 9.30am, with rounds due to continue through the day, followed by a full programme of freestyle on Sunday, from 9am with an expected end time of around 11pm.

Competitors of all ages will showcase bright coloured and sequinned costumes, with routines to the thumping sounds of dance and urban music in a host of categories including solos, groups, pairs and teams.

Organiser Sandra Wilson said: “The street and freestyle weekend is very busy and noisy, especially on the Sunday, with disco music and a lot of very colourful costumes.”

By contrast, the sequence dance weekend will feature groups of couples demonstrating the same moves to a variety of tunes.

The children’s day is on October 18, followed by professional, amateur, social and senior events on Sunday to Tuesday, October 19 to 21, and general dancing each evening to Jon Canning with guests leading off the dances each evening.

Jon will also play for tea dances on Sunday and Tuesday afternoons.

Sandra added: “Also, on the Sunday of the sequence festival, to break up the day, there will be a performance from dancers at Phil Winston’s Theatreworks - possibly demonstrating some different styles of dance.

“It’s difficult to explain sequence dance but it’s quite different from the ballroom and Latin you see on Strictly Come Dancing. Each couple or solo dancer is performing the same routine at the same time.”

There will also be chances for tea dance enthusiasts to pick up new routines with public sessions taking place alongside the competitions.

For more information on both weekends, visit www.blackpooldancefestival.com. Street and freestyle tickets are available on the door at the Empress Ballroom, with sequence entry available at the Opera House box office from Friday, October 17.