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Judging duties at Strictly Get Dancing

Published on Thursday 27 March, 2014

Rose Chadwick from our Learning team, was invited to be a Guest Judge at Martin House Hospice's fundraising event  'Strictly Get Dancing'. Here is her experience of the night. 

As you may have read on our website, we recently led a project with Martin House Children’s Hospice. We built such a great relationship with them that they asked if I would be one of their judging panel for their upcoming fundraising event ‘Strictly Get Dancing’. I couldn’t say no to the lovely team at Martin House and before I knew it I was travelling to The Engine Shed in Wetherby to join the other Judges; Dancer/Choreographer Stuart Barrett, Chris Chittell, aka Eric Pollard in Emmerdale, and ITV Calendar’s Christine Talbot, with our very own Brucie – ITV’s Duncan Wood.

Martin House had gone all out with their preparations. When I arrived I had to walk through a cloud of hairspray to get into the main room as the dancers were with professional hair and make-up artists getting glammed up for the big event. There were some couples on the dance floor rehearsing their dances, looking very nervous! After being pampered in hair and make-up I was shown to our VIP quarters where we waited for our grand entrance – I’m not sure who was more nervous at that point, me or the dancers!

There were fifteen couples taking part in the competition, and they included staff from the care team at Martin House, their Ambassadors and even mums of children cared for by the hospice. All the dancers were of mixed ability with some who have lots of dance experience to some whose only experience of hitting the dance floor was at a disco in the 80s. They had all spent the last six weeks in training with two professional dance teachers where they learnt the techniques for both the Cha Cha Cha and the Waltz.

The competition was tough, for the dancers and the judges. There were three couples dancing together who only had ninety seconds to impress us, and at the same time we had to give each couple three different scores plus notes for feedback. Head Judge Stuart (the expert) focused on their technique, I looked for good posture and musicality, Christine concentrated on performance, while Eric played a great baddie and got the boos!

Throughout the night it got harder to get an idea of who may go into the final as all the couples had certain strengths that shone in their performances. We deliberated for a good ten minutes before we came up with our final three, all of whom had minimal dance experience. They were all wonderful for so many reasons but we still had to choose a winner. The decision to crown Will and Miriam Evans as the Strictly Get Dancing winners was unanimous as we were all blown away by their energy, passion, performance and technique. Little did we know that Miriam was a HUGE strictly fan so I think we made her year!

I had a wonderful night supporting Martin House who run a programme of fundraising events throughout the year to raise the money to run the hospice. What better way to spend your evening than with dancing, glitter balls, sparkly dresses, a bit of bubbly and some of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met. Ooh and I even got to do the Cha Cha Cha with Stuart before I headed home.

(All photos by David Lindsay


The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.