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Dance Wing – Japan

by on Nov.18, 2009, under Articles

Dance Wing 51The final of three articles I was asked to write for the Japanese dance magazine ‘Dance Wing’ has now been published in their November issue, volume 51.

This particular article looks a little at life behind the scenes of the biggest and best dance festival in the world from my perspective, including: My thoughts behind the music we perform, the challenges set to the dancers, the musicians, tempi, Marcus Hilton (MBE) and a brief snapshot of the judges dressing room and a little of what they get up to behind closed doors!

Once again there are some stunning photographs littered throughout the magazine which has now shifted away slightly from the Blackpool Dance Festival. It does however feature (for the ladies) the many different styles of ‘make-up’ used during this week, with a photo gallery and advice on how to achieve the looks created by the stunning competitors.

The DVD insert is of the semi-final and final of the British Professional Rising Stars Ballroom competition 2009, which also features the music of the Empress Orchestra.

The presentation this time is by Kenny Welsh and was filmed during the BDFI UK Congress 2009 entitled ‘Artistry in Dance’. Kenny’s lecture touches on head and body positions, pivots, rolls and turns and also interpretation of music which is often the last thing that couples think about when they are on the ballroom floor.

If you are interested in taking a look at this colourful magazine (many of its content written in English also) then please follow the link to Dance Wing

Once again your comments are welcomed as always!

Best wishes,

Ashley Frohlick

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Dance Wing – Japan

by on Sep.08, 2009, under Articles

DanceWing vol 50The second of three articles I was asked to write for the Japanese dance magazine ‘Dance Wing’ has now been published. Back in July I “blogged” briefly about volume 49 and this edition continues largely with their analysis of the Blackpool Dance Festival.

It’s a richly colourful magazine with some stunning photography, this issue features (amongst other subjects) the ‘Team Match’, hair styles (ladies) both modern and Latin, with an explanation of how to achieve the lustrous look! There are also revues of the Pro Ballroom and Pro Latin competitions by Anne Gleave and Jukka Happalainan respectfully.

Translations to all the main pieces are in English.

There is once again a wonderful presentation (on DVD insert) this time by Lene James-Mikkelsen filmed during the BDFI UK Congress 2009 entitled, ‘Back to the Future’. A very insightful lecture with some wonderful demonstrations highlighting a few of the basics often missed by young competitive Latin dancers.

The DVD also contains the semi-final and final of the British Professional Rising Star Latin Competition 2009, which of course features music of the Empress Orchestra.

The second of my articles touches briefly on our album ‘Always & Forever’ and also a little about the Orchestra itself and why (unlike many bands) we don’t use a vocalist for competitive performances.

If you’re interested, then follow the link to Dance Wing.

Comments welcomed as always!

Best wishes,

Ashley Frohlick

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CD Review

by on Aug.07, 2009, under Articles

Hi All,

I wanted to share with you the recent CD review from ‘Dance Today’ (August 2009). As always, your comments are welcome should you wish to share them. I must admit, I wasn’t aware so many different bands/orchestras had appeared over the Blackpool Dance Festival’s history.

Best wishes,

Ashley Frohlick

Alan Parker reviews the new album from the Empress Orchestra.Dance Today - August 2009

Most people will immediately know the Empress Orchestra as the one that plays at the Blackpool Dance Festivals, mainly performing in the world-famous Empress Ballroom of the Winter Gardens. The mantle taken over by current leader, Ashley Frohlick from those giants of Blackpool past – Harry Wood, Herman Darewski , Bertini, Norman Newman, Larry Brennan, Charles Farrell, Tommy Jones, Charles Barlow, Ken Turner, and Irven Tidswell – brought with it great responsibility. That is, to preserve the distinctive sound from the arrangements of past leaders, as well as the reputation of the 80-plus years of history surrounding the festivals. Not only has Ashley Frohlick done this, but he has added in some new arrangements, some fresh and wonderful music that adds to the unique sound enjoyed by dancers all over the world.

Ashley started to think about the project in 2002 and the process of  introducing new compositions and orchestrations, brand new arrangements of established works and completely new tunes has taken time, careful thought and an incredible amount of work. The result is an exceptional dance music CD.

ALWAYS & FOREVER has 18 tracks covering all of the ten main Ballroom and Latin rhythms. There is almost 45 minutes of the most delightful music to inspire dancers, whether social or professional, both of whom are well served by this CD.

At the Blackpool Dance Festival I was able to enjoy hearing these fine sounds live, and now, through this CD, I – and very many others can re-live those moments. One of my particular favourites is “Unforgettable”, and it would have been a very suitable album title. However the foxtrot is just one of 18 tracks sure to move you around the dancefloor. We must thank Ashley for continuing tradition and for adding more outstanding music to the history of the very finest music for dancing!


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Dance Wing – Japan

by on Jul.01, 2009, under Articles

dw49For those of you who speak Japanese, or more importantly can read it; Volumes 49 – 51 of Studio Himawari’s magazine ‘Dance Wing’ is featuring three articles I was asked to write for its readers.

The magazine is packed full of information, adverts for dance-wear, shoes, jewellery, photo galleries of the hairstyles and fashions worn this year during the Blackpool Dance Festival and much, much more. I speak very little Japanese and am unable to read their beautiful writing, but it’s set out in such a way that even I (a non-dancer) can pretty much understand.

It also contains a delightful half hour DVD presented by Anne Laxholm, (former European Ballroom Champion) called ‘Keeping it Human’. The lecture and demonstration by Anne was filmed during the Ballroom Dancers’ Federation International UK Congress 2009.

The articles I have written are (as you might expect) about all things ‘Empress’: Our involvement with the Blackpool Dance Festival, the album ‘Always & Forever’, and amongst other things; an insight into what happens behind the scenes and offstage during the Festival.

‘Volume 49’ is available now and looks great (it oozes Asian culture). The articles have also been written in English for those that can’t read Japanese. If you’d like to see for yourself, please follow the link to Dance Wing where ‘Vol. 49’ should appear online shortly.

Best wishes,

Ashley Frohlick

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Dance Today

by on Jul.01, 2009, under Articles

Dance Today May 2009I just wanted to thank Katie Gregory (the editor of Dance Today) for featuring the Empress Orchestra in their May edition. The five-page article was a behind-the-scenes look at how our album ‘Always & Forever’ was recorded.

The piece, wonderfully written by Alison Gallagher-Hughes, captures the essence of a day in the recording studio with the boys and myself.

If you’d like to get hold of a copy of the May edition then you can do so through the Dance Today website. And if you have any questions about the whole recording process, then by all means pose a question below and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.

Best wishes,

Ashley Frohlick

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