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The Dance Review - Darren Park reports on the Sequence events of Friday 5th April 2024

The final day for couples at the 2024 Blackpool Junior Dance Festival has arrived and with a change of panel, a slightly different mix of dancers, everyone is considering if there may be some result changes, making for an interesting & exciting final night.

The Juvenile Sequence Formation competition was won by the Expressions Matilda Team – they provided us with an explosive start, creating impact with very good lines which is not easy to do with a big team.

Expressions then made it a double with a win with their Phantom Team in the Junior section. Although they were challenged hard by their rivals, their maturity, dance quality & experience shone through, also providing some nice little sophisticated touches along the way. Well done!

The Under 10 Years couples was won by Poppy Mae Oldknow & Emilia Roach. Proving a solid performance, however, there are some postural issues that will need to be rectified to move forward in the Juvenile ranks.

The 12-13 Years was won by Owen McGregor & Macy Oliver – a couple with bags of charisma & natural talent. Sometimes the excitement can overtake this couple and control gets lost along the way, but tonight, they kept it in check & provided a well-polished performance.

Juvenile Two Dance. With the Championship winners standing down along with 2nd place, who would take this one? Or even, who has a chance at the final!? The victors being Emilie Pope & Sophia Giles – a strong frame and solid performance – a complete contrast from the runners up who took a softer approach but did not quite have the strength to offset it.

The Juvenile Modern Sequence was won Ellsie Flounders & Melanie Louise Gibbs. With their main challengers from the rest of the week not in attendance, this result was never really in doubt. This couple are very well presented. However, to keep their rivals at bay in the future, they will need to address their set up and weight distribution.

Finally came the British Junior Classical Sequence Championship. The semi-final told us what we already knew – this was not only going to be tight at the top, but also for which couples would make the final. Megan Callin & Summer Kelly challenged hard, but to me they looked tired in the Semi-Final. I am sure they will be disappointed to have been so close, but missed out on that spot in the final.

The Champions for 2024 and successfully defending their title was Evan O'Dea & Lula-Belle Findlay. They are an attractive couple, wonderful grooming and floor presence – you are naturally drawn to them. However, the body connection is too high, giving Lula-Belle some issues with her stance.

Runners Up were Ethan Cadman & Tamzin Barlow – after a few close calls between the two couples in recent months, they challenged hard, but it just wasn’t to be tonight. They are a strong little couple with a solid, understated approach. To move forwards, look at your floor presence & look to widen your frame.

3rd place went to Emily Wilkinson & Heidi Smith. With results being a little up and down this week, they were delighted to cement themselves into this final position with 3rd place in all dances – well deserved. They are an appealing couple, however, there was slightly too much use of arms & head weight in ballroom hold.

With the remaining 3 couples all being placed 4th, 5th & 6th in dances, it was a real battle for the remaining positions with the couples final scoring being 19, 20 and 21 respectively across the 4 dances. Daniel Shuker & Freya Carruthers came out on top and secured 4th position – at times, this couple can challenge upwards in places, but of late, more and more arm tension seems to creep in, affecting their frame & appearing to zap their energy.

5th place went to Jorgi Gemmell & Zoe Patterson – this couple possess a strong, wide shape which creates good impact on the floor. Going forwards, more attention to detail will be needed.

6th place was Ruby Day & Annaliesa Walters – the girls must have been a little disappointed, but it was always going to be tough, the final tonight should be seen as a job well done! They are a well-balanced couple, strong dancers. I would just like to see a more dynamic leg action in the future.



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