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Blackpool International Festivals

Great Blackpool Run This seaside resort is steeped in dance history and it plays host to the world’s premier dance event, the Blackpool Dance Festival, each May/June. This is staged in the magnificent Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens and covers Ballroom and Latin American Dancing.

The first Blackpool Dance Festival was held during Easter Week in 1920 in the Empress Ballroom. Modern Ballroom (‘English style’) and Latin American dances had not yet evolved and this festival was devoted to three competitions to find three new Sequence Dances in three tempos – Waltz, Two Step and Foxtrot. This format continued until 1926, although in 1922 Stage, Country dancing and Morris dancing were introduced. The Stage Dancing flourished, but the Country dancing was dropped after two years.

As more and more foreign competitors came to Blackpool, it was decided to organise a small festival for British competitors only. In November 1975 the first British Closed Dance Festival was held in the Empress Ballroom. This has now become the British National Championships.

The Blackpool Dance Festival attracts large numbers of competitors from around the world each year and draws thousands of spectators. To give you an idea of the scope of the festival, in 1993 there were 54 countries represented and a staggering 1,539 couples entered the various events.

Over the course of the festival it has been estimated that the following will be used:
  • 2,922 bottles of fake tan
  • 2,000 cans of hairspray
  • 292,200 Kirby grips
  • 2,000 tubs of gel
  • 2,922 cans of spray dye
  • 14,610 fake nails
  • 1,000 bottle of nail varnish
  • 1,461 sets of false eye lashes
  • 1,461 pairs of tights.

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