These are the incredible preparations underway at the stunning Empress Ballroom for first major Blackpool Dance Festival in three years - worth £6m to resort

The organisers of this year’s Blackpool Dance Festival are preparing the magnificent Empress Ballroom ready to welcome this year’s dancers and judges for the first major festival in three years.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 4:55 am

The festival, which was first staged during the Easter week of 1920, has only previously been prevented from taking place on two occasions – during the Second World War and due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opening on May 21 and closing on the June 3, the 96th festival will welcome hundreds thousands of dancers from all over the world to dance together at the Empress Ballroom for the first time since 2019.

The Festival is the longest running dance festival in the world and is by far the largest of the five Blackpool dance festivals.

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Getting the dance floor of the Empress Ballroom polished and ready for the 96th Blackpool Dance Festival

This week the preparations include:

-Overnight cleaning and relamping of the huge chandeliers in the ballroom

-The stage is manoeuvred into place and the rostra installed and painted

-The competition dance floor is laid

Work is underway to polish the chandelier at the Empress Ballroom

-The seating is positioned and meticulously numbered and lettered

-The production lighting and sound is installed

-The stage is set and the Empress Orchestra arrive for their first sound check

-The dressing rooms are built

-The backstage areas for officials are prepared

-DSI TV arrive to install their cameras to facilitate the live streaming event around the world

-Final checks are undertaken prior to the doors finally being reopened

Michael Williams, Manager Director, Blackpool Winter Gardens said: “The excitement amongst the dancers, judges and the team here is almost at fever pitch.

The Winter Gardens has always been about putting on a magnificent festival where dancers can do what they love best - dance.

"This year will be no exception and we can’t wait to open on the 21st to welcome everyone back to the home of dance after a three year break.”

The economic benefit to Blackpool is circa £6m including local hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and bars as dancers, their supporters and spectators flood the resort over the thirteen days.

The Empress Ballroom is one of the most popular venues within the Winter Gardens complex, perhaps most well known for regularly hosting the annual party conferences of the big three political parties in the UK, Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats, throughout the late 20th century.

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