The 96th Blackpool Dance Festival was held in the Empress Ballroom at the magnificent Winter Gardens, where thousands of competitors from more than 40 countries took part

The Blackpool Dance Festival, which was first staged back in 1920, recently welcomed dancers from all over the globe to dance together.

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

Managing Director of the Winter Gardens, Michael Williams, said: “This year has been incredible with thousands of competitors from over 40 countries. The standard has been superb and our 96th Festival has been an amazing celebration of the love of dance.

“The excitement amongst the dancers, judges and the team, was at fever pitch throughout the 13 days after a three-year break.”

The economic benefit to Blackpool is estimated to be around £6m including local hotels, guest houses, restaurants and bars as dancers, their supporters and spectators flocked to the resort.

Prior to the event a whole host of preparations got underway including the cleaning of the grand ballroom’s chandeliers and the polishing of the dance floor, in readiness for the launch of the competition.

The week of preparations running up to the contest included:
• Overnight cleaning and re-lamping of the huge chandeliers in the ballroom
• The stage was manoeuvred into place and the rostra installed and painted
• The competition dance floor laid
• The seating was positioned and meticulously numbered and lettered
• The production lighting and sound equipment was installed
• Once the stage was set the Empress Orchestra arrived for their first sound check
• The dressing rooms were built
• The backstage areas for officials were prepared
• DSI TV arrived to install their cameras to facilitate the live streaming of the event around the world
• Final checks were undertaken prior to the doors finally being reopened

Commenting about the pre-event preparations, Michael Williams, added: “The excitement amongst the dancers, judges and the team was palpable. The Winter Gardens has always been about putting on a magnificent festival where dancers can do what they love best – dance. This year has been no exception.”



Tedd Walmsley

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