Dance Festival Brings North West Best to Rossendale

Words byCatherine Smyth Media

Photo by Nic @ Little Picture Loft

HUNDREDS of dancers from all over the North West packed a Haslingden school for a three-day dance festival.

Nearly 100 trophies were handed out at the fourth Dansworks Theatre Festival held at Haslingden Primary School.

Dansworks Dance Academy, based at Pioneer Buildings in Bacup, introduced a local festival because its pupils enter competitions all around the country and it was decided it would be good to have a competition nearer home.

Business Development Manager Dale Connearn, Principal Karen Roe and Dance Teacher Gemma Nuttall took the best aspects of all the competitions they had seen to create a friendly and welcoming event.

Gemma said: “We had eight different classifications for solo artists, Ballet, Character, National, Greek, Tap, Modern Jazz, Song and Dance and Musical Comedy.

“Then we had duets and trios and troupes. In one of the troupes there were over 20 performers so it is a good job we had a big stage.”

Adjudicator Janet Sutcliffe, from Clitheroe, was full of praise for the festival and emailed Gemma afterwards to say: “It was a pleasure to be there and everyone was extremely welcoming. The festival was run with super efficiency and the standard was very impressive.

“I wish you and your dancers well in the future and any forthcoming competitions.”

The inaugural event was in 2013 at Central Methodist Church, Bacup, but the event outgrew that venue and for two years was held at Longholme Methodist Church, Rawtenstall.

Gemma said: “This venue was much better, more child friendly and we will definitely be using the school again. It was more contained which helps with the organisation.

“Having the festival on a stage gives children the experience of what it would be like if they went on to perform and they are in front of an audience, which is a world apart from having a lesson in a studio.

“The best bit for me is when it is all up and running and you see the children on the stage, they are happy and excited to be dancing on stage and it’s lovely to see their delight if they manage to win a medal.

Over the three days the adjudicator selects her favourite acts and they are asked to return on the final day for a special ‘Best of Festival’ section when she chooses her overall winner.

Gemma added “This year the adjudicator’s choice of performers for the last section was really good because it was varied and encompassed all the different types of performance we had seen over the three days.”

In 2013 Dansworks won the Tourism Category of Rossendale Business Awards in acknowledgement of the work the business does to put Rossendale on the map within the North West.

For more information about Dansworks classes contact 07843 263714 or visit

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