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Dancesport Congress 2018

Dancesport Congress 2018

20 November 2018

Reports from another successful weekend of Dancesport, held on 21st–22nd July 2018

The ISTD Dancesport faculties led a fantastic weekend of lectures and workshops, including the Pierre and Bill Irvine trophy competitions.


The Worthing weather certainly did not disappoint once again as the ISTD Dancesport 2018 Congress commenced on a hot and sticky Saturday, with well-attended lectures from teachers and amateurs and a lovely new sprung dance floor.

The first Ballroom lecture of the day was PG Tips with the ever-popular Paula Goodyear, assisted by James and Joanna Whitehead. Paula gave us a very useable variation in Waltz, including a same foot lunge, and also some extra actions that could be incorporated. The Quickstep variation was danced using lots of syllabus figures, which would appeal to the social dancer, including double reverses spin, cross swivel and fishtails. Her Foxtrot snipper again showed the use of the same foot lunge. Her clever choreography and use of slow counts were appreciated by her large audience on the floor. Making full use of her lecture, Paula gave us a smart variation in Tango again with the same foot lunge, lovely useable work presented with a most informative use of her subject matter

Next was the Latin American Faculty who gave us The Beauty of Basics in Cha Cha Cha, Paso Doble and Jive, presented by Ben Milan-Vega and Leila Stewart, who were finalists in the British Nationals Professional Latin event at Blackpool last year and current holders of the Pierre Trophy. Ben explained how to develop the basic figures suitable for Gold Star. The Cha Cha Cha group showed fabulous use of alternative basic movements, Cuban Breaks and lock actions with changes of hold, shape and timing. The Paso Doble variation again developed the choreography for the advanced dancer with strong use of press lines and clever arm and body shaping. Their final piece showed clever use of flicks and kicks, and a little bit of West Coast swing incorporating a sugar push gave us a slick piece of Jive choreography

Our second Ballroom lecture, Gold Star Choreography in Waltz and Tango was presented by Ben Taylor and Stefanie Bossen who turned Professional in October 2017. A beautifully danced Waltz group showing careful attention to detail and delivered with most confident teaching methods. Ben also gave ideas on how to improve the dance quality and how to get the correct weight distribution before commencing. The Tango showed fast changes of shape and used both syllabus and non-syllabus figures. Well put together work, eagerly appreciated by their large audience on the busy dance floor.

The first Sequence lecture of Congress was presented by newly appointed Sequence examiner and Latin American Faculty member Simon Cruwys, who was given the task of Exploring Interesting Figures in Modern and Latin American Sequence. He covered 3 dances in 45 minutes: Paso Petite, Vistamar Cha Cha Cha and Tango Tarquilla, and explained about the importance of going back to our technique books to keep our knowledge current. His attention to detail was clear as his experience of teaching was delivered to his audience.

After Lunch, we had the delight of a Ballroom Masterclass with previous World Champion and Ballroom Faculty Chair, Christopher Hawkins, superbly demonstrated by Ben Taylor and Stefanie Bossen. His wealth of both teaching and dance experience was clearly evident as he explained how to keep up with the modern era, and he wanted us to be a fly on the wall in his private lesson. Chris started by wanting to create more volume from his couple. By creating more movement and drive, Ben and Stefanie were able to achieve this. His audience were in complete concentration as he delivered an absolutely first-class lecture.

Our last Latin American lecture for the day was given by Alexander Shindila and Jade Main who are the current World, European and UK 10-Dance Champions. They gave us The Beauty of Basics in Samba, Rumba and Paso Doble. Their Samba group was cleverly put together incorporating Cruzados walks and locks, travelling, circular and spot voltas and the basic movement. This when developed showed dynamic movement, strong musicality and musical accent. Moving onto Rumba, Alex and Jade demonstrated the beauty of shape, and by the use of syncopation, made their opening section of curl into fan position much more dynamic. Lots of detail on the spiral and swivel sections made this a very useable piece of gold star choreography. Their Paso Doble variation showed lots of syllabus content adapted for the advanced dancer and showed that through figures such as the chasse cape, using complementing shaping you can achieve strength of characterization and musicality. A lovely end to our fist day of lectures.

Nigel Kirk

Tea Dance

What better way to end the most amazing first day of lectures than with the Tea Dance? The Assembly Hall was transformed into a lovely tea room and was quickly filled with teachers and their guests. The tables were adorned with an array of sandwiches, cakes and scones. As tea was served we were introduced to our DJ for the afternoon Jacky Logan. Jacky played a great selection of music and encouraged everyone to fill the dance floor. The atmosphere was enhanced by subtle lighting giving a truly party ambiance.

Whilst enjoying our tea Paul Marcel was invited to teach us Salsa Choke. Paul’s energy was infectious and with his excellent, clear teaching manner he quickly had us doing Salsa Choke. The dance was fast, lively, energetic and Ras Tas Tas!

The highlight of the afternoon was the Bill Irvine and Pierre Trophy competitions. The Bill Irvine Trophy was first and Christopher Hawkins introduced the judges firstly for the leaders and they were Christopher Hawkins, Malcolm Hill, Paula Goodyear, Yvonne Taylor-Hill, and Julie Tomkins.

The judges for the followers were Warren Boyce, Vernon Kemp, Margaret Connon, Anne Lingard, and Jill Bush. Taking part in the Professional leaders competition were Jake Hooker partnered by Megan Reeves, Nicholas Kelly and Richard Peters. The followers in the Professional competition were Cheyenne Russell and Olga Peters. The Imperial Amateur Shield entrants were Liam Pywell and Alexandra Stainton.

It was a treat to see all the competitors dancing the interesting choreography of the syllabus figures. First was the Waltz, which was graceful and effortless. Second was the Tango and all the couples showed crisp lines and staccato basic actions. Next came the Foxtrot with a smooth action, elegant top lines and superb musicality. The fourth dance was Quickstep. All the dancers had such a light rhythmic action despite how tired they must have been on such a warm day. Lastly the Viennese Waltz and the judges had the unenviable task of choosing between all these lovely dancers.

To give the competitors a rest between the Ballroom and Latin American competitions, Jacky filled the floor with everyone enjoying the Mayfair Quickstep and Sheila’s Waltz.

Next Graham Oswick introduced the Pierre Trophy Competition. The judges for the leaders were Graham Oswick, Crystal Main, Simon Cruwys, Vernon Kemp, and Paula Goodyear. The Judges for the followers were, Julie Tomkins, Matthew Cutler Michelle Postlethwaite, Janet Clark and Christopher Hawkins.

The couples were brought on the floor individually and gave us a taste of their Cha Cha Cha. They were Jake Hooker partnered by Megan Reeves, Kirill Shevelev and Valeriia Sheveleva, Nicholas Kelly and Cheyenne Russell and Richard and Olya Peters.

They all returned to the floor to compete in the first of the five dancers the Cha Cha Cha with a rhythmic foot speed followed by the Samba with strong body actions. In the Rumba it was beautiful to see the syllabus figures danced with such great feeling and the Paso Doble had great attack and shape of line. The couples finished with an energetic Jive. What an amazing afternoon of competitions.

Graham thanked Robert Aldred for Scrutineering and Paul Fielding for playing all the music for the competitions. He also thanked Joanne Blackshaw for her many many hours of work and dedication in co-ordinating this wonderful Congress weekend.

Imperial Dancesport Award 2017

Paul Streatfield announced the recipient of the 2017 Imperial Dancesport Award. This year the award goes to Patsy Graham. Patsy has worked tirelessly for the DFR Faculty for over 20 years in different roles both as Faculty Secretary and Events Co-ordinator. Sadly Patsy has now retired from her job but for so many years she has given amazing support and commitment to both committee members and all the teachers alike. After receiving her award and flowers Patsy gave a very heart felt speech of thanks to everyone.

Pierre Trophy, Bill Irvine Trophy and Imperial Amateur Shield Winners

Before the last dance of the afternoon the results of the competition were announced and winners were as follows:

Imperial Amateur Shield

Liam Pywell and Alexandra Stainton

Bill Irvine Trophy

Leaders Winner Nicholas Kelly
Followers Winner Cheyenne Russell

Pierre Trophy

Leaders Winner Kirill Shevelev
Followers Winner Valeriia Sheveleva

Thank you to everyone who is involved with the organising and running of the Tea Dance it was lovely to spend time with friends and colleagues such a great way to end the day.

Mandy Pearce


The Beauty of Basics in Rumba and Samba with Kirill Shevelev

After successfully winning the Pierre Trophy the previous evening, Kirill along with his lovely wife Valeriia took us through a very interesting and useful Samba group using whisks and boto foots with a variety of rhythm changes. He then went on to give another lovely useable rumba group showing us creative use of sliding doors with natural top, swivels and spirals. Everything was clearly and expertly taught with lots of eager participants on the floor.

Developing Syllabus Figures for Gold Star in Foxtrot and Quickstep with Michelle Postlethwaite

Following a very successful Latin lecture last year Michelle, partnered by Richard Miles, was back to teach us some Ballroom this time. They demonstrated an 8 bar basic syllabus groups in both dances, which were then developed to create some very interesting and versatile variations. Michelle gave lots of teaching tips with regards to the ladies head position and how to avoid being too back weighted, plus with lots of options on how to adapt the routines for pupils.

The Big Apple with Julie Oram

Next we had our Authentic and Emerging Dance offering something completely different with a very knowledgeable lady. Julie taught a fun routine with Charleston and Lindy elements to authentic 1940s music. She gave us an excellent demonstration and those participating thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Pam’s Passionate Pointers with Pamela McGill

Another very popular and truly brilliant lady was the next to the floor. The effervescent Pamela McGill expertly took us through some of her pointers. She gave us some extremely useful exercises suitable for absolutely any level and age. These included the mans forward check action and the ladies forward walk turning action where Pam clearly explained the use of the feet, legs and hips.

A first class lecture, which was extremely useful and enjoyed by all.

Dramatic Ballroom with Craig and Evgeniya Shaw

Current European American Smooth Champions and one of the top British Ballroom Couples, Craig and Evgeniya showed how to improve the Tango by making the dance more dramatic using body shape and speed. Craig talked about three body positions. They then showed the importance of swing on the reverse turn and natural weave in the Foxtrot. Very clearly taught and superbly demonstrated.

Presentation by Ginny Brown, ISTD Artistic Director and Interim CEO

An informative presentation on dance-teachers.org was given where Ginny Brown along with Louise Sampson and Philip Blackburn from the members group explained how this is a very useful tool to promote our dance schools and encouraged members to sign up. Ginny also outlined the new online QUEST examination system.

Phyllis Haylor Presentation

After giving their presentations in the morning the long awaiting winner of the prestigious Phyllis Haylor Scholarship was announced. This year’s very worthy recipient was Jake Hooker who was congratulated by Julie Tomkins and Christopher Hawkins. Well-done Jake. Julie then went on to make a second presentation to Joanne Blackshaw to thank her for all her hard work into making the Worthing Congress happen.

Classical Sequence – Encouraging the Very Young with Claire Thompson

Using current music from the very popular film The Greatest Showman, Claire showed us how she makes it fun for her pupils to learn. She explained how she breaks the learning into stages with appropriate games to encourage their development. She also stressed the importance of not influencing children’s opinions by sharing our own personal preferences. It was clear to see that Claire has a very natural approach with the children and evident that they really enjoy their classes with her.

The Beauty of Basics in Cha Cha Cha and Jive with Viktoriya Wilton

Using varying combinations of rhythm and timing changes Vicktoriya and her partner confidently showed us the development of syllabus steps, which were clearly counted in both dances. They showed a beautiful jive action and gave a clear explanation of foot pressure and release along with the importance of partner awareness. This was another excellent presentation with a clear teaching style.

At the end of Congress, Julie Tomkins, Dancesport Chair, thanked the members for attending and looks forward to seeing everyone again next year. This was another superb Congress and a great opportunity to meet up with colleagues and friends, old and new. I would like to add my personal thanks to all involved in making Dancesport Congress 2018 the success that it was. I for one thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to next year.

Maria Howse

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