Hugely successful dance festival will be extended next year

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Thousands of dancers have whirled round the Empress Ballroom’s floor at biggest ever Blackpool Dance Festival.

New to the festival this year were pro-am championships and professional competitions in American smooth and American rhythm dances.

Blackpool Dance Festival

Blackpool Dance Festival

Winter Gardens managing director Michael Williams said the additions had been hugely successful, and would that the festival would be expanded by a further three days in 2018 to accommodate more of the same.

The ProAm Championships, in ballroom/Latin and American Smooth and American Rhythm, took place on Tuesday, with 1,888 entrants - with rounds starting at 7.20am and not finishing until 12.40am on Wednesday.

“It’s the first time we’ve had this at Blackpool, and one of the first times in Europe,” he said. “People were delighted; for many it was their first time dancing in the UK and fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition to dance at the Empress Ballroom.

“We’re already making plans for next year to extend that event to three days because of the potential demand.

Blackpool Dance Festival

Blackpool Dance Festival

“People have travelled to Blackpool from around the world to take part, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and spending in shops.

“It will still form part of the May Blackpool Dance Festival but will be an event in its own right.”

The new ProAm and professional American smooth and American rhythm contests came after Mr Williams visited a ballroom contest in America, and he said it had been a ‘sensational’ addition to the festival, which is in its 92nd year.

Mr Williams said it was too early to tell how many dancers had taken part in the full 11 days of competition, but that it was already clear that it was the ‘largest entry we’ve ever had’.

Long days of dancing run until after midnight throughout the festival, which runs until Friday, June 2.

“It’s a unique experience of being in Blackpool that keeps it so popular,” Mr Williams added.

“Dancing to the Empress Orchestra, which makes an amazing sound, in the splendour of the venue.”