Ballroom dancing at Blackpool…check.
This weekend my first challenge rose to greet me, a trip to Blackpool’s famous Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens for a weekend of dancing, fake tanning and parents with astronomical expectations. Seriously, I’ve seen lower expectations at beauty pageants.Credit where it is due, all the hard work they put in pays off, there is nothing quite so inspiring and/or heartbreaking as seeing child couples dancing on the famous floor far better than you ever will. It just makes the whole ordeal that bit more upsetting that children always dance first, joyfully setting the bar incredibly high.
I really thought this would be the easiest challenge – if it has taught me anything, it is that mental pain can be as crippling as its physical counterpart. For those of you like me who have successfully avoided public shows for your entire lives, it is a shock. Nonetheless, after many months of preparation it came down to less than 5 minutes of doing our best.
For those of you familiar with ballroom dancing through previous experience or just an insatiable lover of Strictly Come Dancing, our dances were a Waltz and Quickstep respectively. For those of you who are new to these terms (please skip if above applies), a Waltz is the slowest of the ballroom dances and ideally, graceful. The quickstep is, coincidentally, quick. Grace and elegance are still important, but it’s like a Waltz at a jogging pace. That was fun to train for.
Unfortunately, due to far better prepared competition our fight ended early on, but as I was reminded as my competitiveness kicked in, it’s hard enough stepping out there in the first place.
Fortunately, there is video evidence; a true dance edition of Where’s Wally. To see us in action you can go to https://www.facebook.com/weekendwarriorwill2017/ or visit my Instagram to see my world in small videos and photos: https://www.instagram.com/willtheweekendwarrior/?hl=en
Finally, I would like to take the time to appropriately thank those who got me there. To my partner Katie, without whom it would literally have been undoable. To Sue Douglas for her support and advice during my training and to Andrzej Mialkowski and Step by Step dance school, who not only was relentless in his efforts to get me to Blackpool, but also gave me the routines and training to make it possible.
If you feel like giving my public meltdown a cause, please visit my JustGiving and find out where I am next: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/William-Ash2502
As always, if you are between 16-30 and would like to join the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register, find out more here: https://www.anthonynolan.org/8-ways-you-could-save-life/donate-your-stem-cells