Why Do Dancers Love The Blackpool Dance Festival So Much?

For most of the dancers, May is a synonym for The Blackpool Dance Festival. This year it would have been the 95th celebration of this prestigious event and its 100 years anniversary. It is for the first time in history when the Festival has been postponed; the event was cancelled for 5 years during the Second World War.   

On Saturday, it would have been the start of the Blackpool International Congress. Last year the theme was “Concept of Art”. On Monday it would have been the start of the last week of competitions, everyone being excited for the Amateur & Professional finals.

Because The Blackpool Dance Festival is deeply ingrained in our soul as well, we decided to share with you some reasons why dancers love this event so much

“When you are a young kid and you get here, definitely the music, the audience, the history, the hall, even the smell and energy of the room, it just takes over, so you’re not dancing the competition, the competition actually dances you.”
- Yulia Musikhina -

You can also see the full answers in the interviews we had last year with these amazing dancers, on our YouTube channel

The wins

It must be truly out of this world to experience a win at The Blackpool Dance Festival. And by win I am not necessarily thinking about winning the competition. Maybe for someone a win is to get to the next round, into the semifinal or final. As Ferdi Iannaccone puts it: “Your whole life you hope that one day you do a good result here in Blackpool.”

For example, Dorota Rusu remembers with great fondness the Team Match from 2018. Troels Bager is keeping dear into his heart when he & Ina won the Under 21 and when they got into the Amateur Final and won it. Also a big win for him was when they turned Professional and they made it into the Final straight away.

The music 

The Empress Orchestra lead by Mr. Ashley Frohlick is for sure a trademark of this prestigious event. There is no Blackpool without its music! 

Ina Jeliazkova gets goosebumps even now when she thinks of the time when Mr. Ashley Frohlick came out with the Casino Cha-Cha for the first time. Her and Troels had this side-by-side piece in their Cha-Cha routine and they hit exactly the music phrase. She told us that the audience went absolutely crazy!

The Legends

We all need to remember that your idols have idols as well and in Blackpool, you get to perform in front of them! All the biggest legends have each year the same seats in the front rows. You get to see great dancers on every square meter of the Winter Gardens.

Valerio Colantoni told us this story and it must be one of the most amazing ones I’ve heard so far:

“I first came here with my father and my dancing partner. I arrived at the stairs when Marcus & Karen Hilton were dancing their last dance. And there were like a million people inside and the crowd clapped them for 12 minutes. In that moment I realized that this competition is a different world than the world we’re usually staying in. I realized that this is where I want to be.”
- Valerio -

Troels had almost the same experience as Valerio. In the night they got into the final of Professional Latin, Michael & Joanna announced their retirement.  

“It was such a culmination of so many things that night and for us to be able to stay on the floor with those champions and legends.”
- Troels -

But Domen Krapez makes sure to remind us that these legends are still human beings. They all know what the pressure of dancing in front of your idols means and that is why they show support. Even if they are the biggest legends, they always stand up at the last dance of the final, clapping & cheering. 

“This is actually the beauty and the friendship of this world. It puts everybody together.”
- Domen -

The Energy

Without doubt the atmosphere in the Winter Gardens is absolutely addictive. There is an energy in that ballroom that fills your heart and takes you over. But where does this energy come from? 

“Blackpool is very special in so many ways. Like you never get so much energy from the audience as here.”
- Klemen Prasnikar -
“Definitely, of course, the feeling you get in Blackpool, dancing on this floor… you cannot compare it with any other competition. Of course, there are many competitions that are great in the world, but here it just feels… Maybe it’s also because it’s the peak of the season, like you feel that the whole year you are building up to that. In Jive it’s like it’s just building up to this moment, this “10 minutes of the Final”, when you just wanna give everything. And you feel that the audience also gives it back.”
- Sasha Averkieva -
“It’s the stairs. Going down on those stairs…and you start to smell it, probably, even the lightning, and the music, the live music just gives me goosebumps. Because when you practice at home, it’s a different thing. You don’t have this magical factor that is Blackpool.”
- Monica Nigro -
“When we’re preparing for The Blackpool Dance Festival, we think about the venue, the atmosphere, the surroundings.”
- Sergiu Rusu -
“I think in Blackpool, people are more prone to having special moments and they are excited for something happening. I think people are always just waiting for something special to happen. If it’s every year? I don’t know.. I think in a way it depends on us, on dancers, cuz if we don’t do our part, I don’t think the crowd would go mental.”
- Petar Daskalov -
“If we don’t give, we don’t receive anything. So I think it varies, the public is very ready to give, to cheer you on, if you give to them firstly.”
- Zia James -

I dare say that I agree 100% with all of these great dancers. Those stairs, the smell, the legends from the front row who ALWAYS sit in the same place. The beauty of the Empress Ballroom and the music that the Empress Orchestra plays are absolutely fairytale-like. But I think the best thing about The Blackpool Festival is the audience: the clapping of thousands of people who share the same passion – dancing. You absolutely feel alive!

How about you? What’s your favorite thing about The Blackpool Dance Festival?


I've started dancing when I was 9 years old and it has been a part of me ever since. I love to surround myself with everything dancesport related. Now I get to experience the world of dancing through a writer's lens.


Tags: Empress Orchestra The Blackpool Dance Festival WDC Winter Gradrens

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