Dance championships set to stay in Blackpool as chiefs say threats to pull out were not authorised

A trademark row over naming rights for Blackpool's prestigious dance championships is set to be resolved after the competition's ruling body withdrew threats to pull out of the resort.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 3:10 pm

The board of directors for the British Dance Council has issued a statement saying a letter sent by its president Marcus Hilton to Blackpool Council in March was not authorised.

It says it is now working with the Blackpool Entertainment Company Ltd (BECL), which operates the Winter Gardens on behalf of the council, to secure the future of the championships.

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Dancers competing at the Empress Ballroom

A spokesperson for the British Dance Council said: “The board was genuinely shocked and saddened when we became aware of the letter Mr Hilton had sent to Blackpool Council.

"We are proud of our association with Blackpool that has been built over 90 years of mutual trust and co-operation.

"We are now working with Blackpool Council and BECL to ensure the championships remain in Blackpool for another 90 years.”

The row broke out after Mr Hilton said the council had not consulted with the British Dance Council when it applied for ownership of trademarks for 17 competitions held at the Winter Gardens.

He said this undermined "accepted practice that the British Dance Council will award all championships" and as a result alternative venues would be sought.

But the BDC board of directors said Mr Hilton's proposed actions were not discussed or agreed by its members.

The council has applied for trademarks to protect its naming rights in the event of rival dance organisations being launched.

A spokesperson for the Blackpool Entertainment Company said: “We are extremely grateful to the board of directors of the British Dance Council for setting the record straight and confirming their president did not have the authority to write to Blackpool Council suggesting Blackpool would be losing the support of the British Dance Council, and that BECL would be losing our rights to promote the championships

"Blackpool is synonymous with ballroom dancing and the championships should remain in their rightful home, that is the Empress Ballroom.”

Mr Hilton did not respond to requests to respond to the statement from the board of directors.

The British Dance Council (BDC) was formed in 1929 and the World Dance Council (WDC) was formed in 1950 initially under the name of International Council of Ballroom Dancing.

Today both organisations work alongside each other, and the WDC has 63 member bodies. It grants World, European and other titles worldwide.

The BDC oversees all competitions and championships organised in Great Britain, including the British, United Kingdom and International Championships.