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And the glitter ball goes to....Strictly Stortford's charity dance competition was a toe-tapping spectacular



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Strictly Stortford was a resounding success as sequinned couples took to the dance floor for a charity competition that finally had its day after two years in the making.

The pandemic put paid to the first attempt as participants came together to begin training in early 2020.

But on Sunday, with an afternoon and evening performance that followed the format of the popular BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing, eight couples delighted audiences at South Mill Arts with a dazzling display of fancy footwork and toe-tapping routines.

The Class of Strictly Stortford 2022. South Mill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408242)
The Class of Strictly Stortford 2022. South Mill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408242)

Most importantly, it has raised upwards of £12,000 for Hope for Justice, the charity working to eradicate modern day slavery thanks to the fundraising efforts of the dancers and via ticket sales.

Having been a part of the original line-up with my husband, Rob, but being forced to withdraw due to personal circumstances, it felt extra special sitting ringside to watch the months of hard work that would have gone into the dance spectacular unfold before our eyes. I could barely contain my urge to dance, such is the enjoyment and freedom that dance offers up, and smiled in awe from beginning to end at what everyone had achieved.

It was a pleasure to watch the team, who we had briefly come to know, execute the group Argentine Stroll and then their individual routines with passion, flare and confidence. From 11-year-old Bishop's Stortford College pupil Sebastian, who partnered his mum Nyree, to female duos Bernie and Anita and Sarah and Liz and relative newcomers Fran and Martin, every couple looked to enjoy the experience and had improved remarkably since those early days of trying to remember the steps!

Annice and Ryan won the audience vote. Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408260)
Annice and Ryan won the audience vote. Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408260)

The event was dreamed up and organised by Clive Weir who pulled together support from husband and wife professional dancers Stephen and Hazel Evans, of Evans Academy of Dance, in Harlow, and their daughter, Cheryl, who volunteered their services to steer the couples through their training; as well as gathering sponsors, costume and make-up designers and those who helped produce and market the event to recreate the Strictly effect.

The carefully choreographed show emitted the professional feel of the real thing with pre-recorded introductions played on the big screen ahead of each performance - a getting-to-know the couple feature which worked really well.

There were four judges up on stage to critique individual routines, which included the jive, rumba and cha cha cha, raising their paddles to score. They included the delightful judge, Sue, who you never knew quite what she was going to say next in the playful manner of former Strictly TV judge Bruno Tonioli to professional dancer, Kerry, who a bit like her TV counterpart, head Strictly judge Shirley Ballas, stood up to demonstrate how to best achieve a certain movement.

The group dance kick-started proceedings, compared by guest singer Miguel Olivares who interspersed the evening with renditions of popular songs.

Sarah and Liz won the judges' vote at Strictly Stortford 2022. South Mill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408267)
Sarah and Liz won the judges' vote at Strictly Stortford 2022. South Mill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408267)

The only difference to the TV version was separate audience and judges awards - the winners of the afternoon session were Bertie and Gillian with their jive, which earned top marks from both the judges and audience, while Annice and Ryan took the evening audience prize for their lively Cha Cha Cha and the judges' chose Sarah and Liz for their well-executed jive.

Bishop's Stortford mayor Dave Anderson presented the winning partnerships with their glitter ball trophies.

Speaking at the end, Clive thanks the Evans' family for all their help."We wouldn't have got here without you so thank you because you are brilliant professional dance teachers."

Organiser Clive Weir with dance instructors Stephen and Hazel Evans and daughter Cheryl. Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408244)
Organiser Clive Weir with dance instructors Stephen and Hazel Evans and daughter Cheryl. Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408244)

Andy Williams, of Hope for Justice, said: "The effort and challenges you have all risen to in order to make this happen is absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for what you have done tonight."

The class of Strictly Stortford 2022. Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408243)
The class of Strictly Stortford 2022. Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408243)
Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. Last minute changes with l-r: organiser Clive Weir and dance instructors Cheryl and dad Stephen Evans. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408246)
Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. Last minute changes with l-r: organiser Clive Weir and dance instructors Cheryl and dad Stephen Evans. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408246)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408257)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408257)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408261)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408261)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408263)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408263)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408265)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408265)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408269)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408269)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408271)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408271)
The group Argentine Stroll was performed at the beginning of the show. South Mill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408272)
The group Argentine Stroll was performed at the beginning of the show. South Mill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408272)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408273)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408273)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. Compere Miguel Olivares. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408247)
Southmiill Arts, Bishop's Stortford. Final dress rehersal for Strictly Stortford 2022. Compere Miguel Olivares. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (57408247)

Have you got photos from an event you'd like to see featured in the Indie. Email newsdesk@bishopsstortfordindependent.co.uk



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