To see the greatness of the biggest City in the World – Shanghai play to host to the diminutiveness of Blackpool was to see the future of Ballroom Dancing. Infinity will I am sure produce some wonderful Chinese dancers but in a very short time the start of this process was seen from the Blackpool Dance Festival China – Shanghai 2016.

Blackpool meets Shanghai! The inaugural Blackpool Dance Festival – China was a stunning success and has started a new history and a new future in the Ballroom Dancing World. Approximately 3,000 people witnessed some very high class performances over the 5 days of the Festival. Victor Fung and Anna won the first Blackpool Professional Championship China with a performance that was excellent. For me their Foxtrot was really beautiful, containing musical phrases based on a true swinging body action. The atmosphere created with combinations of Dance excellence and Ashley Frolich and his Empress Orchestra was just right to inspire the best from the competitors on every occasion. The Latin American Professional final was really exciting, with Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko claiming the first Blackpool China Latin American title. Their speed and flexibility was breathtaking. A magical historic event – Blackpool in one part of the World creates its future counterpart in another – Shanghai. This is no less than the history and the future of Ballroom Dancing.

The inaugural Blackpool Dance Festival China was a stunning success and has started a new field of co-operation in the future of Ballroom Dancing Worldwide. But allow me to give you a quick portrait of the prime movers in this imaginative development. First and foremost, Mr. Michael Williams, CEO, Blackpool Entertainment Company Ltd., who with his willingness to support and work for this fantastic venture made it a wonderful success. The experience of Sandra Wilson. The imagination of Sammy Stopford and the perspicacity of Hai Ping to see the possibilities of this Festival’s Future and the support of the WDC President Mr. Donny Burns MBE. Tributes must also be paid to Mr. Marcus Hilton, Evening Chairman and Mr. Robert Bellinger, Afternoon Chairman and their super human translator who translated for the complete day! A mammoth task, superbly accomplished. Compliments must also be paid to Estelle Grassby and her hard-working team of scrutineers who did a terrific job. Samuel Stopford gave the singing performance of his life and is my favourite kind of singer. He has talent to burn! His performance in Shanghai was brilliant, moving and inspiring. He deserved the standing ovation given to him by the Chinese audience and I wish him every success in his future. I cannot finish this report without giving large praise to all of the Chinese Professionals and Dancers who not only supported the Festival, but were involved in the training of these talented couples. Richard Gleave OBE


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