I’ve always been a fan of Strictly Come Dancing, and even more that, as a child years ago my mum would let me stay up late and watch Come Dancing. I loved the formation teams the best. In our area, there’s a ballroom and latin dance school who’ve organised local Strictly competitions for local heroes.
In the first couple of years, it seemed to be well known people from the town, but in latter years, normal people on the street have been able to put themselves forward to take part. I’d not realised this until last year, and then this year’s competition had 2 of my friends taking part. One was a friend I knew through ceroc, then other through local NCT group and committee who’d not danced before. And last year a former ballet classmate won her town’s Strictly competition (and she was a bit of a ringer given she’d been to dance school and really looked the part as well).
I have to admit I was jealous. I’d love to do more than the few weeks of taster classes I’ve done before of ballroom classes and it would be a way to do ballroom without having a partner. Because it really is anti-singles if you don’t have anyone to go along with (as a female). But I’m not sure I’d want to get up on stage dressed in slinky little outfits. Maybe once my diet goes better, I’ll put myself forward for it in future if they don’t mind having someone who’s done quite a lot of dance before.
Just seeing the photos from the run up sessions, the dress trying on, the pro photography shots, the counting down to the show weekend and the counting up of the charity fundraising totals. It really did create a buzz around the event, at least on social media.
I went to watch the matinee show. My 6 year old son decided he wanted a ticket but then of course on the day I ended up going alone.
The Mill Theatre is a good local theatre, great for this kind of event and I’d chosen good seats. Being a matinee it was meant to be a shorter show suitable for children, although it started late and went on 30 minutes longer. A local show is always good because I ended up seeing lots of friends either involved with the show or coming along to support their own friends and family.
Like on the tv show, the local Strictly Banbury event has judges – 5 in this case, although they didn’t comment on each performance, just held up paddles (it seemed only 7s to 10s were available). They were from the ballroom world, teachers at the dance school, or previous performers.
After the introductions to the performers – and there were a lot of them, the pairs danced either a foxtrot American smooth (more just a foxtrot) or jive, with 2 or 3 pairs on stage at once. Some pairs were really hard to tell who the ‘pro’ from the dance school was, others struggled a little more. But it looked like all had a great time and enjoyed themselves.
There were some great costumes – I thought the Beauty and the Beast costume and dancers were one of the best on the floor. Once they’d all got over the initial nerves, they settled into it well.
After the individual dance round it was time for the group dances. These had been chosen and choreographed by the groups themselves. Let’s just say there were obviously some characters, because there was an Abba tango, a Michael Jackson one, a Jersey Boys themed more classy dance, and a somewhat comedic if not all family oriented cross dressing 70s disco number. And yes, my 2 friends were in this one. Highly amusing, although having to do something like that and look really stupid would be what would put me off taking part in a local Strictly competition.
The audience got to vote for their favourite group which was meant to indicate who would go through to the final – 5 couples. This scoring system was confusing because it didn’t seem to match with the group winner and those in the final – likewise with the individual scoring which didn’t seem to keep tally. Still 2 of the couples I’d thought would do well were in the final and I think the right people won in the end. The final was a jive for everyone.
Inbetween costume changes and results, we got to see demos from the junior members of the Step by Step dance school. It’s always lovely to see the little ones up to teens dance, and with only 3 boys across the age groups, it really showed how we need to continue to try and get more boys into dance. There were a couple of the girls who really stood out as excellent dancers, from 2 of the youngest to one of the teens.
The show did go on for 30 minutes longer than planned, but it was lovely to be able to watch local people taking up dance for the first time, seeing how much my friends really enjoyed it. Hopefully local events like this encourage more people to take up dance or continue their dancing journey. It’s a shame there’s no ceroc or modern jive classes still in our town, but maybe where these competitions are replicated around the county and nearby, we’ll see more people starting to dance regularly.
Does your area do similar Strictly shows for the general public to take part in? Have you ever been tempted?