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The Dance Review

Blackpool Sequence Dance Festival 2023

Debbie Wilson repots on the Blackpool Sequence Dance Festival's final day.

Sunday 22nd October 2023

🎥 Relive all the action from Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October on

The clocks strike 6pm, and the doors open to the final evening of the 73rd Blackpool British Sequence Dance Festival. Walking down the stairs for the last time this year into the magnificent Empress Ballroom, whether you are a child or an adult the feeling inside hits you like a thunder bolt!


“ IF YOU KNOW YOU KNOW!!!! ” :) :)

Forty- nine years of my life creating memories and friendship as a competitor, spectator, professional, teacher and an adjudicator has been spent at this historical glorious festival.

From that initial G-chord to the fanfares and National Anthem, the exquisite music from Ashley Frohlick and the Empress Orchestra sends, an unexplainable tingle like a mexican wave around the ballroom.

Immediately we are transported to another wonderful world of surrealism, artistry, beauty, exquisite costumes, fabulous dancing and friendships that are second to none.

Whether you are a Blackpool Sequence first timer, either spectator, social dance or competitor, or an event regular, you can guarantee you will be welcomed with open arms into the sequence dance fraternity. As I have been asked by Natalie to do the review for this evening, I have taken my inspiration from Ashley's famous two step music, Do You Hear The People Sing? and asked the voice of the people.

Here are some quotes of the evening....

“I love the comradery between the competitors and different spectators, it’s lovely.”

Shelley O’Hara(Professional & Competitors mum)

“Overall beautiful dancing, joy to watch. It’s lovely to watch all the hard work put in, fabulous dancing,absolutely amazing”.

Donna Dowdell (Regular social dancer/spectator)

“Dancers expertly lead by the floor leaders.” by Stephen and Helen Blackburn


“That was lovely, amazing!” Pro Am Final

Anon overheard by myself whilst spectating

“Welcoming, warm atmosphere.”

“The band playing makes it so special.”

Fabio & Amy D’Angelo (Professionals, new inventive dance performers)

“Loved the Pro/Am event, a fantastic display.”

“The ultimate conclusion to the festival.”

“It looked gorgeous!”

Collective comments from Emma & family (British Amateur Champion and parents/spectators

“I thoroughly enjoyed it, the festival this year has exceeded my expectations. The atmosphere in the ballroom has been excellent. Plenty of social dancing catering for everyone.

Watching the competitions live in this amazing atmosphere brought a lump to my throat.”

Paul Watkins (Spectator, social dancer, Ex British Senior Classical & Modern Sequence Champion)

“Its fabulous to be able to dance in this beautiful ballroom again after 8years.”

Julie Pearson (Pro /Am competitor)

“The Pro/Am was fantastic, would love to see more events like this.”

Josh & Conor O’Conchorsley

“It’s been lovely to dance to live music.

As relative beginners and new to Social dancing,( this is our first time at the festival) people are so helpful, warm and friendly both in the afternoon tea dance and this evening. We were struggling with a dance and the couple in front separated and danced with us to help us along, as well as other couples prompting us by calling out the steps. We have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Jorge & Su (First time social dancers & spectators)

“A good atmosphere, people and competitors have been friendly towards us. I have enjoyed dancing to live music.”

Alex (First time Festival Amateur Open competitor)

“The audience encouragement and appreciation is fantastic and also being able to dance to the orchestra.”

Curtis (First time Festival Amateur Open competitor)

“ It’s good to see even with slightly reduced entries in some events the atmosphere created tonight is tenfold. The competitions have been great to watch and a great evening of dancing.”

Mark Munford (Spectator, Ex competitor)

Throughout the evening the atmosphere was magical. Quality, beautiful dancing witnessed by the audience who showed their appreciation by clapping along to the music, shouting for their favourite couple and culminating in a standing ovation for the British Professional event with Henry and Freya demonstrating the dances beautifully with maturity, technique and quality.

The highlight of the evening for me personally was the brilliant display from the Pro-Am competitors which tonight for the first time included two same sex couples and provided us with the largest entry in history for this event.

The standard for the Amateur British was outstanding, to match the atmosphere which lifted their performance.

Seniors I do not know how you are able to give such performances, your stamina and commitment to Sequence dancing is commendable and a pleasure to watch.

Social Dancers Modern Sequence event, what a fabulous entry and an extremely high standard which I imagine caused the adjudicators a bit of a headache. Lovely to see this area of our competitive world beginning to grow again.

Following covid the lights have become dimmed but as you can see from the quotes above our lights are beginning to shine brightly again.

Through dance, friends becomes our family, and the Blackpool Sequence Festival becomes our home.

As you can see, a common thread along with the thunder bolt inside the Mexican wave tingle created by Ashley and his orchestra was enjoyment, acceptance, friendliness and camaraderie felt by everyone during the final day of this spectacular BRITISH SEQUENCE FESTIVAL

See you all at the family reunion next October for the


Keeeeeeeppppp Dancing!!!


1st: Roger Griss and Annette Griss (Kettering)
2nd: Stuart Bowkett and Andrea Bowkett (Lincoln)
3rd: Neil Timberlake and Paula Timberlake (Aston)
4th: Neil Warren and Carla Warren (Shardlow)
5th: Alan Staniford and Paula Staniford (Stevenage)
6th: Alexey Kadyrov and Liubov Kadyrova (Dublin)
7th: Harry Hilton and Margaret Smith (Oldham)


1st: William Robinson and Katrina Barker (Scunthorpe)
2nd: Emma Schofield and Lucy Schofield (Burnley)
3rd: Bradley Winter and Jennifer Board (Weston-super-Mare)
4th: Bryn Fahy and Charlotte Burrows (Cotgrave)
5th: Andrew Parkinson and Dawn Parkinson (Giltbrook)
6th: Ian Gurner and Ruth Davies (Gwent)


1st: Harry Smith-Hampton and Emma Walker (Newcastle upon Tyne)
2nd: Alex Gilberthorpe and Sophie Martin (Doncaster)
3rd: Joshua O'Conchorsley and Grace Phipps (Hucknall)
4th: Curtis Watson and Alexandra Parry (Isle of Man)
5th: Lucy Morse and Lauren Foy (Oxford)


1st: Liam Pywell and Grace Phipps (London)
2nd: Luke Shepherd and Sophie Martin (Kingswinford)
3rd: Joshua O'Conchorsley and Julie Pearson (Hucknall)
4th: Gavin Crombie and Stuart Hatton (South Shields)
5th: Freja Smith and Emily Renwick (Annan)


1st: Andrew Parkinson and Dawn Parkinson (Giltbrook)
2nd: Duncan Barritt and Denise Barritt (Old Weston)
3rd: Keith Henson and Lesley Henson (Ferryside)
4th: Karen Overs and Margaret Winter (South Shields)

Full results will be available upon the conclusion of the festival at

Image credits:

Visit the website for fantastic images of the whole festival!



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