They’re inviting as many fans as possible to come along to Ilkley’s very own ‘Strictly Dancing’ evening at Ilkley’s Winter Gardens on Saturday 3rd November at 7p.m.
The society’s last Strictly evening two years ago proved so popular that the society has again persuaded twelve of its bravest members to put on their dancing shoes and face the dreaded judges – whose identity will remain a closely-guarded secret until the night of the competition.
But while their TV counterparts have weeks of rehearsals to perfect their routines, Ilkley’s plucky amateurs have just a single day to practice for their big night.
The contestants will arrive at the Winter Gardens just ten hours before their dance floor debut when they will find out the name of their partner and whether their dance will be ballroom or latin. The nervous couples will then look to choreographer Andrew Walton for the winning moves that will help them waltz away with the coveted glitterball trophy.
As a winner of several British dance titles with his partner Ann, Andrew has his own ‘Strictly’ connections. He competed regularly alongside the likes of Darren Bennett, Ian Waite and Matthew Cutler, all of whom went on to become professional dancers on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Andrew says he will definitely be on the side of the contestants, having been examined by Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge, Len Goodman, when he qualified as a Ballroom and Latin American teacher. ‘The whole experience was pretty terrifiying,’ says Andrew, ‘so I think our contestants are incredibly brave.’
The event has been organised by Julia Wilson, who will be taking on the Tess Daly role for the evening, assisted by Tony Walker as the evergreen Bruce Forsythe.
As well as the excitement of voting for their favourite couple, the audience will be treated to a show dance by Averil Ashworth – who has also choreographed for the society – and her partner Gavin Spencer. Averil and Gavin both started dancing from an early age, though it has been a while since they put on their ballroom shoes.
‘I’ve had to get my mum to post them to me!’ admitted Gavin, who took a break from dancing at the age of 16 when he joined the Navy. The pair will be hoping to show the contestants how it should be done!
While the votes are being counted and the judges’ scores calculated, the show will go on with some fabulous performances from the dancers and singers of Ilkley’s Joze School of Dance.
Tickets for the event cost £12, which includes a light supper. Seats are at tables of four or eight, and the bar will be open until late. For tickets or further details, telephone 01943 602028.