👉 A Message from our CEO Kevin Page –
I have great pleasure in announcing that three of our nominations have been successful in reaching the final three at this year’s prestigious awards.
Outstanding Classical Sequence partnership Graham & Avril Watkins
Outstanding Services to Classical Sequence Robert & Louise Aldred
Outstanding Services to Dance Mary Richardson
I am sure that you will join with me in congratulating everyone, let’s keep fingers crossed that they go on to become winners.
We wish all of our finalists the very best of luck for October 🍀.
Please see the Biographies below for the latest nominations:
Graham & Avril Watkins – Outstanding Classical Sequence Partnership Award
We have been dancing together for 49 years, starting as young amateurs rising through the ranks, to being placed 4th in the British professional classical championship. The good news is we are still going strong.
Our dancing school started in Dudley in 1980 with our first attempt an inventive with Tango Americano, never to be seen again!
We recently took the decision to retire from active competing after a successful career with some of dances in regular programmes.
We are truly honoured to be nominated amongst such esteemed colleges and friends, to fly the flag for sequence dancing, thank you.
Robert & Louise Aldred – Outstanding Services to Classical Sequence
Robert and Louise have been involved in dancing for all of their lives and have been teachers for almost 30 years. They run a busy dance school near Nottingham training dancers of all ages and grades in sequence, ballroom and Latin American.
Over the years they have trained many national champions including British Professional and British Amateur Classical Sequence Champions. They have also been successful in training numerous winners of national medallist competitions at both the ISTD and NATD grand finals events.
Robert and Louise began entering inventive dance competitions in 1995, winning at their first attempt with the Countess Waltz which later went on to become a popular Championship dance. Since then, they have recorded over 40 winning dances including: an unsurpassed 15 wins at the prestigious Blackpool Sequence Festival and 14 at the equally highly regarded British Dance Council competition. A further four of their dances have also been added to the British Dance Council Championship list and remain popular with competitors.
In addition to teaching and competing, they helped to produce and demonstrated on two Classical Sequence DVDs providing a useful aid to training in this style for both Professionals and Amateurs. They were also instrumental in initiating and advising upon the production of a Classical Sequence CD, the first new music arranged and recorded specifically for Classical Sequence for many years.
They are much in demand as adjudicators and lecturers and enjoy promoting dance in general and sequence in particular through their committee work. Robert is the Chair of the Sequence Advisory Committee of the British Dance Council, of which Louise is also a member and they are both members of the ISTD Sequence Faculty.
Mary Richardson Outstanding Services to Dance Award
Mary was brought up in the world of dance as her mother, Molly Richardson, was a well-known teacher. Starting with ballet at the age of three, Mary had the benefit of studying all forms of dance, always with the intention of becoming a dance teacher herself. On leaving school at the age of seventeen, she immediately qualified with the ISTD and NATD and started teaching alongside her mother at their school in Reading. She continues to run ‘County Dance’ which is now in its 65th year, with her daughter Anna Dieguez and son-in-law James Dieguez. In 1973, at the age of twenty-five she was invited by the NATD to become an examiner, and later was elected on to their Council of Management becoming president, a post she held for three years, all whilst representing the NATD on the BDC.
Having had a very successful competitive career herself, Mary has encouraged many dancers to enter competitions at all levels, many becoming champions. One year at the British National Championships, Mary took twenty-two Juvenile and Junior couples to Blackpool, and was proud that five of these couples reached the junior ballroom final. Many of her pupils have been invited to promote children’s dance on television programs, such as Blue Peter, Disney Club, Baby Ballroom to name a few.
Under Mary’s expert guidance, well over fifty professionals have worked for their teaching qualifications and many are now running successful studios of their own. Mary has been invited to lecture on many occasions for the major associations and was a regular championship adjudicator all over the country. She started promoting open competitions fifty years ago, originally running the Berkshire Festival in Bracknell with her mother, which then moved to Reading, where in the early 1990s she started running the South of England Championships which became a must in the competitive dancer’s calendar.
Mary has always endeavoured to give back to the world of dance – a world that has given her so much pleasure.