Well I thought it was a long time since I wrote the last post… How time flies when you’re having fun!
Since the last ‘It’s Been A While’ we have been relatively busy performing once again for the wonderful event run by the BDF in the ‘Star Championships’. There were more couples competing than in previous years’ and the atmosphere matched it accordingly. We thoroughly enjoyed this event once again and made it 3 in a row for us. Great competitions brilliantly run by the BDF and an honour to be a part of… Thanks to all involved for the experience and we look forward to the next one in 2013.
We also performed for the 50th Inter Varsity Dance Competition… A fabulous event with some incredibly enthusiastic young dancers I must say it was wonderful to be a part of their milestone competition dating back to 1962!
It was great to be part of the (New) Southport Sequence Dance Festival and this year it was run by Peter & Carol (ADA) Parry. After the controversial and scandalous antics of its previous organiser Mr David Bullen, it was wonderful to be a part of this event which is doubtless one of the finest in the ‘Sequence’ calendar. We are looking forward to performing again for the competitions in 2013 and also to play for the social dancers as well.
Once again the ‘Blackpool Dance Festival for Juniors’ was a wonderful event to be part of and one of our favourites in the calendar year. We are always amazed at the standards achieved by the talented and dedicated young couples and 2012 was no exception. Fabulous dancing all round for the hugely varied competitions and a sensational atmosphere unrivalled in the world of dance during the Junior & Juvenile Team Matches! I guess you just have to see it and be a part of it to truly understand how magical it is.
Following on from the last post:
It was wonderful to be part of two of the biggest championships to be held in Britain in the: Blackpool Sequence Dance Festival and the British National Dance Championships. It is always a pleasure to perform for these two events as the differing dance genres makes them completely different from a musical point of view and it was nice to once again be able to offer some new musical material for the dancers as well.
Thanks to everyone that came to say hi and pass some wonderful comments about our music…
We look forward to performing for you again really soon.
It’s been some time since the last Blog and high time to write another one before the end of 2011.
Since Singapore we have played at a number of wonderful events and for some superb dancers from around the world and as we look forward to the coming year wanted to share with you some of our experiences pertaining to them and a quick look forward to some in the future.
We thoroughly enjoyed the 2nd London Ball from the InterContinental on Park Lane. As last year, the dinner dance was a wonderful occasion for some of the world’s most decorated champions and professionals. In the words of Richard Gleave:
“During the Ball on Friday evening, the atmosphere was delightfully warm and I felt a spirit of unity and harmony that was truly magnificent and enjoyed by everyone present. The Empress Orchestra was simply stunning to listen to during dinner and an even greater inspiration during the general dancing, where everyone had so much fun! I have never heard the orchestra play or sound better. The interpretation of the saxophonist playing the foxtrot ‘Splanky’ blew me away for it’s power and I had to tear my eyes away from the dancing to watch the famous ‘Trevor Lips’!”
“With Champagne flowing and a gourmet dinner fit for a king, this has to be one of the greatest nights in the Social Dancing Calendar!”
I just wanted to say what a wonderful experience Singapore turned out to be for the gentlemen of the Empress Orchestra and myself. An absolutely stunning part of the world from which to give our first ever performance in Asia and in a truly sublime setting.
Many thanks to everyone associated with this ‘Celebrity ShowDance Charity Gala Dinner’, (especially Jannie Tay, The Hour Glass, Marina Bay Sands and Andrew Sinkinson), which featured Michael Malitowski & Joanna Leunis as well as demonstrations from Richard & Natalie Perry.
It was an honour and a pleasure to be part of such an auspicious occasion and a delight to perform our music to such a receptive audience.
Looking forward to the next time.
Just wanted to say that we are really looking forward to performing here at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore on September 20 for the DanceArt Celebrity ShowDance Charity Gala Dinner. What an incredible venue!
It’s a huge honour to be asked to perform our music in Singapore and as it’s the first time that the Empress Orchestra has ever appeared in Asia we are thrilled to be here in this stunning location.
Just wanted to say a big thank you to Tony & Amanda Dokman for inviting me to their training weekend for the second year running to lecture about music.
This year was a little different from the previous one as I was asked to do a simple Q & A session for the attendees, not entirely what I had planned but enjoyable none-the-less.
Once again everyone there made me feel welcomed and part of the family and it was nice to see so many familiar faces a year further on.
If you’d like to be part of this wonderful training weekend in 2012 my advice is to book early as places are running out fast. For 2012 alongside Tony & Amanda Dokman they have some amazing lecturers/teachers in: Jonathan Crossley & Lyn Marriner as well as the master of Ballroom dancing himself, Mr. Marcus Hilton MBE… I can’t recommend the weekend enough, it’s a warm and friendly environment with some of the world’s finest dancers and a wonderful way to improve your dancing.
For more information please visit DTW.
Many thanks to Richard Porter and Marija for inviting me to lecture to some of the world’s finest dancers this year during his Latin Camp in Cassino, Italy.
A wonderful atmosphere, fabulous setting and some seriously enthusiastic dancers made the lecture a pleasure from start to finish. It was nice to be able to discuss Latin music in a way that they clearly have never done before and from there, witness their reactions as the musical pieces started to fall into place. We barely managed to scratch the surface of what I know and what I would have liked to have shared but still seemed to cover an awful lot in a short space of time.
I’d like to thank all the couples for their participation during the lecture, their many questions during and afterwards and for taking the time to help make me feel welcomed.
Another fabulous experience for the gentlemen of the Empress Orchestra and myself this year.
Many thanks for the wonderful comments about our music and the way we perform it, your kind words really do go a long way to help make us feel part of the whole “Festival” atmosphere.
The standard of dance again this year was incredible and some of the competitions were fiercely contested… None more so than the Professional Latin & Ballroom competitions. It just goes to show how very important this event is to everyone!
We had a wonderful response to the new music we performed this year… One completely new and original piece of music: ‘The Dokman Tango’, seemed to really grab everyone’s attention including the dancers & judges (who loved it). Then new orchestrations for Waltz, Rumba, Slow foxtrot (x2) and Quickstep (x2).
You see… We do care about what you dance to, it is as important to us as it is to you!
I have already started to make preparations for some more new, original and innovative material for next year which will see the introduction of: 1 original & 1 new Paso Doble, 1 or 2 original Cha Cha Cha, 1 original Rumba, 1 new Slow Foxtrot and 1 new Jive. The Paso Doble compositions and orchestrations will be very different from anything that we currently perform and should hopefully be a refreshing change for the couples and help with creativity within this dance that is often sadly lacking because of stereotypical choreography.
I really enjoyed my first lecture for the British Dance Council as they hosted the ‘World Ballroom Dancing Congress’ on Saturday morning and would like to thank our lead trombonist Lee Hallam for his contribution and also Tony & Amanda Dokman for their invaluable help in making the audible… visual.
(You had to be there to get the full picture)!
Looking forward to next year and my 10th year as Musical Director to the Blackpool Dance Festivals.
Would love to hear from you.
I just wanted to share with everyone the wonderful experience we had performing at the first ‘Blackpool Preparation Weekend’ in Letchworth on Sunday 15 May 2011.
I wrote a post about this event back in February and have been looking forward to this unique use of the Empress Orchestra ever since. It’s the first time that we have been asked to perform in a closed environment (with no public) giving the couples chance to experiment with their choreography in a stress-free way ahead of the 2011 Blackpool Dance Festival.
The Spirella Ballroom was a wonderful venue with excellent facilities, great acoustics and spacious dance floor.
There were some wonderful dancers present from all over the globe including top professional couples; Alexander Zhiratkov & Irina Novozhilova-Popovic (ranked 15th in the world) and the current world’s number 1: Arunas Bizokas & Katusha Demidova.
A wonderful and unique opportunity for all to be able to dance alongside these wonderful artistes in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to the live music of the Empress Orchestra.
Thanks must go to Jonathan Crossley, Lyn Marriner, Tony and Amanda Dokman for bringing this weekend together in their own unique and inimitable style. Everyone… and I mean everyone was buzzing at the end of Sunday afternoon!
We are delighted to have been asked to perform again for their 2012 ‘Blackpool Preparation Weekend’ and if you want to be a part of this fantastic training camp ahead of the world’s biggest and best dance festival in 2012 then please book early as places are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.
For information on how to secure your place ahead of next year’s weekend please email: Tony & Amanda or Jon & Lyn at:
Included in the weekend are:
Lectures by: Timothy Howson, Jonathan Crossley, Lyn Marriner, Tony & Amanda Dokman.
Workshops & Practises (both guided and stamina) and of course… Live music from the Empress Orchestra.
Look forward to seeing you there!
Many thanks to Richard & Anne Gleave and of course the many others that made this event possible from start to finish.
It was great to see so many of the world’s finest couples attending this inaugural championships. The statement of “Freedom to Dance” and the fundamental rights as individuals to be able to choose when and where they dance was at the core of this event.
It was also wonderful to see how many countries were represented here, that dancers who knew they would not even place in the top 6 also attended in spite of the possibility of bans and retribution following this event…
For me, they were the real stars of the show… Without them there can be no competition, they are as equally important to Ballroom Dancing as the champions themselves. For what it is worth, you have my utmost respect and admiration.
It was a huge honour for us to be asked to perform our music for such a special occasion and we are delighted with the association with the cause of “Freedom to Dance“.