Thursday, 14 May 2015

STRICTLY BALLROOM...

Reader Holly tells us what it's like to do ballroom and latin dancing… very cool!

Holly says:
I study ballroom and Latin-American dancing, and have done for the last five years now. I started lessons when I was about eleven - I started because a friend rang me one evening and asked if I'd go along with her. I was dubious to start with, but went along with it as I thought it might be a fun thing to do together. My friend stopped going quite early on, but by then I was hooked and loving every minute! I've had a few different partners over the last few years, but that's part of the fun.

Before I started dancing, I never even knew about the TV show Strictly, but now it's my weekly fix to get me through the cold winter months in the run up to Christmas! It gives me a chance to watch the footwork and improve my own performance! I love all the different moves and steps in ballroom, as well as the techniques of the different dances that I learn. There's everything from the elegant Waltz to the sassy Samba to the passionate Pasa Doble - I love them all.

The best part for me, by a long stretch, is the competing. For the first four years I was dancing, I took part in local competitions and most of the time I was placed… usually between 1st and 7th… in my category. Those days were loads of fun, as I loved seeing all of the different dresses and the steps that different dance schools have. However, in the last year or so I have been able to progress to championship level and compete on a much larger scale, with people from all over the country attending the events. Exciting!

The most recent championship I attended was in the prestigious Blackpool Winter Gardens. Unfortunately I was not placed, but then the other competitors had had so much more experience than me so I didn't mind! Hopefully, in a couple of years, I will be up to that standard too. The atmosphere was absolutely electric and buzzing with excitement. I sometimes get a little nervous for big competitions, but it's mainly just nerves to get out there and dance! It's so exhilarating to perform… I love every minute. If you know you've practiced, the best thing you can do on the day is just enjoy it and let you feet do the rest!

The dresses and the shoes are definitely a highlight for me. The ballroom dresses are long and flowing and make me feel so elegant; then I can switch into the shorter, more playful latin dresses and that brings out my sassy side ready for the attitude and atmosphere of the latin dances. The shoes, however pretty they may look, always become uncomfortable by the end of a long competition day. For the first two hours they're fine, and after that all I want are my comfy slippers!

For anyone interested in starting, find a club that specialises in the style of dance you are interested in but which isn't overly serious - for example, if they want to pull you out of school to practice and compete, in my opinion that's not good, it's just too much pressure. You need to get a balance between dance and schoolwork! Don't worry if you don't have a friend to start with, as the teacher will pair you up with someone - no excuses! Because they've seen how much I love it, my mum and my little sister also began taking lessons and they love it just as much as I do. The three of us met Robin Windsor from Strictly just last week - that's us all in the picture!

I will be going to dance in Southport Floral Hall soon, too, and I can't wait! It's going to be a long day but worth it whether I get placed or not. The long and the short of it is that I just love ballroom dancing - it means the world to me.

Cathy says:
I have two left feet (maybe more, who knows…) but I am LOVING Holly's enthusiasm for dance! Would YOU ever try a ballroom dance class? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!

5 comments:

  1. cool I do that to ! its a butiful gown to ! all in all its AWSOME

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  2. I had to learn how to ballroom dance for a formal military function, and took lessons. I have two left feet, and no matter how hard I tried and how much I loved going to the classes, I didn't seem to improve much! I kept tripping over my own feet and missing steps! :D In the end, I managed to learn a few basics, but on the night I ended up stood on the toecaps of my dance partner whilst dancing to Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade because he was a much better dancer!

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  3. Cool I have done ballet for 10 years and I've just turned 13 I am now in grade 4 and do royal academy of dance exams. I is to do street dance for a few years and have recently started a street class again. I love it . I have also recently restarted tap dancing which I haven't done for ages but I absolutely love it we have a new routine for hold my hand by Jess glynne. I have also started a new type of dance since January called lyrical which is like a faster emotional type of ballet. It is favourite and my highlight of my week it keeps me looking forward to something which keeps me happy. I also attempted a cheerleading class but it wasn't my thing but I don't mind as I have a lot of dancing on anyway so I don't mind.

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  4. I tried ballroom for a couple of weeks, as my friend did it, but it wasn't for me. I now do morris dancing though, and it's actually really fun!

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  5. I do tap and hip hop and love it! it's a part of me that makes me "me". it keeps me awful fit too, which is even better!

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