Blackpool Dance Festival organisers doing all they can to help Ukrainian dancers travel to the resort

As Winter Gardens prepares for the 96th Blackpool Dance Festival, the organisers are doing everything to make sure Ukrainians can compete.

By Lucinda Herbert
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 4:01 pm

Ukrainian dancers are getting help with visa applications and border control so they can travel to the championship event as normal.

The juniors recently had help to compete and the organisers want to extend the support to adults competing in the main event.

The 14-day event is the longest running dance festival in the world and attracted visitors from 65 countries before Covid.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Bogdan Bilous and Yulia Olianishena put on a demonstration outside the Junior Dance Festival at the Winter Gardens in April 2022

And Michael Williams, Managing Director of Winter Gardens, wants to make sure they can welcome their Ukrainian contingent to the festival which starts on 21 May 2022.

He said: “It’s very important that we are able to welcome the Ukrainian dancers. They’re still keeping up their training and having lessons over Zoom.”

“We helped 76 children visit the junior festival from the Ukraine and it was really quite emotional.”

Read More

Read More
Ukrainian contingent welcomed to major dance events at Blackpool

The junior event ran from 17 - 24 April 2022. Ukrainian families stayed at the Alexandra Hotel on Albert Road, courtesy of hotel group Blackpool Promotions.

Adults will have to arrange their own accommodation, but Mr Williams said there is support to help the dancers through border control.

“We are providing more support for visa applications, and have sent off letters to the home office.

Scott Benton has been very supportive with the immigration department to make sure the dancers that want to travel to Blackpool can get the right documents to enable them to get through border control when they arrive in the UK.”

“We usually have a lot from China and other parts of Asia. They still can’t travel due to restrictions. Many Americans who come as spectators or as part of Pro/Am competitions aren’t travelling, so it’s still going to be impacted.”

And the cost of living increase also means that families have had to cut back on a lot of things, and this includes hobbies and travel.

He added: “Dancing is an expensive hobby, and an expensive profession with all of the lessons, costumes, and make-up. International travel costs have risen dramatically in the last two years. People are making cut-backs, but also a lot of the dancers have support from sponsors who make sure they are able to attend competitions. Where there’s a will there’s a way.”