The Blackpool Dance Festival has begun and for the first time in four years I’m missing it. So sad. I felt like I needed to save on expenses this year with the recession and all, and I was disappointed that my favorite, Slavik Kryklyvyy, likely wouldn’t be competing again, and I was aggravated with the predictability of last year’s results and figured I’m going to get frustrated all over again. So, I decided to take a year off.

But, thankfully, two wonderful young ladies from England, Eleanor and Becca, who I met from this blog, are going to do some little write-ups on the goings on later this week. They are fans of Sergey Surkov and Melia, so they’re rather perfect for this blog 🙂 In fact, today, they are modeling in the Chrisanne ballgown show in the pavilion, along with Melia!

(Here’s a picture I took in the past of the runway)

Chrisanne boutique in the pavilion.

I’ll also be keeping up via Dance Beat.

Today and tomorrow are the increasingly popular daytime Congress lectures on things like technique, performance quality dancing, and ballroom dance history by the top pros of today and yesterday, and tonight is the ridiculously exciting but somewhat goofy country team competition. The two most important nights of the week will be Wednesday and Friday, Wednesday being the Pro Latin and Friday the Pro Standard. I’ll be rooting for Sergey and Melia of course, along with the top U.S. couples Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko in Latin, Katusha Demidova and Arunas Bizokas in Standard.

Standard champion Mirko Gozzoli from Italy giving a Congress lecture,

after giving a demo of mouthwatering splended perfection with partner Alessia Betti.

Former champs the charmingly funny Luca Baricchi, with his partner Lorraine, doing the same.

American team’s elegant team comp intro from two years ago.

And last year’s. Still not sure where we were going with that what goes on in the teepee theme…

I’m excited though to be in NY for all of ballet season, for the first time in a long time this year. Between ABT and NYCB I don’t think I’ve missed a day of ballet in the past week.

But, still, it’s always nice to go away. Some of my favorite pics from the past:

(an unusually warm May day in the northern sea-side town)

Riccardo Cocchi rocking it out with his former partner, Joanne.

Karina Smirnoff when she last competed.

Sergey and Melia the first time I saw them dance and the first time they placed in the finals. Kind of funny, it looks a bit like he’s spanking her here 🙂

On the train ride from Manchester to  Blackpool. Sheep! I know, why do Americans always take such pictures? It’s like we don’t have any such animals here…

Curry dinner from Taka Dance’s Japanese restaurant, which they set up in the base of the Winter Garden for the duration of the festival.

Slavik with Elena Khvorova, last time I saw Slavik compete.

Max and Yulia’s advert page in the program the year they made the top six.

The nearby beach. Pretty but cold.

Cheesy, Vegas-y “Eiffel Tower” that houses a lot of casinos and pinball machines, along with pseudo-Vegas-type shows.

Day trip to Liverpool, in between Latin and Standard finals.

The always happening Ruskin Hotel where people like Maks Chmerkovskiy can often be found.

Arunas and Katusha in last year’s finals.

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