One number well and truly marks other dance cards. The 91st annual Blackpool Dance Festival runs from Thursday May 26 to Friday June 3.
This year, thanks to festival organiser Sandra Wilson, it marks a very different change of pace.
One brand new event, an over 50s championship, has already attracted 166 couples. “I’ve been delighted with the response to the first Over 50’s Ballroom Championships,” says Sandra.
“It’s very clear the demand was there.”
The timing of other events have been tweaked to give the festival more impact and respond to demand.
And, this year, when you enter the Winter Gardens it’s clear the world’s best dancers are in town - because all the allied attractions, merchandise, and exhibitions occupy most of the key spaces, bar the formerly used Olympiad which houses Iluminasia.
It’s been a triumph since it started in 1920 at the Empress Ballroom. The nine-day festival is now the biggest of the five Blackpool festivals. The international kudos is decidedly understated by the title Blackpool Dance Festival because it (almost) goes without saying that it’s open to the world.
The festival covers Ballroom and Latin American dancing, incorporating the British Open Championships for Adult Amateur, Senior and Professional couples, plus Formation Teams.
The very fact the event’s website has its own ‘visa’ section says it all - dancers come from far and wide.
Last year 60 countries fielded 2,093 entries. America, Russia, Canada, China, Italy were among the big hitters and Team GB, too.
The Exhibition will be held in the Horseshoe & Pavilion, Derham Lounge, and Floral Hall areas with companies selling merchandise such as shoes, materials, dresses, music, jewellery and more.
It’s all open to the general public too from 10am to 10pm daily except Sunday when it’s on from 10am to 6pm.
Admission tickets can be purchased daily from the Opera House box office , £12.50 for the opening Thursday, £17.50 all other days £36, or a festival season admission ticket for £180.00.