Interview with Hannah Kartunnen
17 Dec 2009 - Alex

In July 2009 Hannah was a guest in our studio in Southampton lecturing and training couples of A&L Team whilst her stay she gave an interview to With their kind permission we are publishing this interview on our website…

Hanna Karttunen – I love to dance

Hanna, what was the most important thing in your career for you?
I love to dance, I love to practise. There are special moments during the competition, not necessarily when you are winning something, these are the moments of absolute unity with the person I dance with and the connection which forms between us. It feels unreal. It feels like you are in different place. This is very special, this is something I did not have a chance to experience in anything else in my life.

I am very competitive and when I go to the competition I go there to win. But what I find the most enjoyable is long hours of practice, of sweating and trying to achieve something and finally getting there. It is the most beautiful sensation! Of course, when you have a goal since you were a little child – and I always wanted to dance and win – winning is very important as well.

I started dancing ballet when I was 3 years old. At the time it was not a serious dancing – it was more about being a little ballerina and wearing a pink tutu. Many little girls like that. When I was 10 years old I started latin and ballroom. I was 20 when I turned professional. I danced in Finland then, with Jaako in Youth age category. He was like a brother for me, we danced together since we were kids. But at that point of our career we found that we had different ideas about the future career and felt we were going slightly different directions. There was really no talk about splitting but, at that time, I had a possibility to dance with Rick Venezuela from America who was a professional and Espen Salberg, our teacher, advised me to try it out. So I tried it and I liked it and felt it was a challenge for me and a chance to check for myself if I have that talent, that potential to reach high. And I decided to take that challenge. I remember sitting with my Dad, we were at the competition, and asking him for his advice. Should I do it or not, should I move to America, should I take up this challenge. It was to be out last competition with Jaako. And Dad said: “Do you really want to dance? Then you must go“. And that was it, no more hesitation. He has told me years later, half jokingly, that he should have let me go away so easily! Because of course, it was a big decision for us as the family.

You love latin, but you have gave up latin for the Exhibition dancing some time ago. What did it mean to you?
I was born to became latin dancer. I love latin, I love dancing latin. I love watching ballroom, it is so beautiful. But for me, I feel that latin was what I wanted to create with my body. First time I was lifted, I was scared, so scared I said: don’t do it ever again, I am a latin dancer and I want to keep my feet on the floor. But, with time and with the fact we were together as a couple in a private life, actually we were engaged with Victor da Silva, I found that I wanted to try it again and see how it feels like. Because it was something new, something interesting and I like challenge. I started to like it but still never thought I’d do it for real. But then the time came when Paul wanted to retire. We were doing Strictly Come Dancing at the time.

The program organisers asked Victor and me to do a live show on TV – we have never danced together before, we had 3 days to put the show together and then dance it live on TV. Victor then asked me: do you trust me. And I said: yes , and we put it all together, we performed and it was a great experience. Dancing felt good, we were a couple, and I thought to myself that maybe it makes perfect sense. We started dancing shows at first, we did not even think of competing. We did our first performance in Strictly Come Dancing in June, started dancing together in August and then the next year in May, in Blackpool, we came to give the lecture. But what happened was that one couple from the Exhibition did not get the visa and did not come, so we were asked if we could compete. We were not prepared, we did not have costumes, we were not in the program. We just came to do a lecture. We said to each other, we sleep it over and decide in the morning. And in the morning we just looked at each other and nodded to each other, yes, we will do it! And Chrisanne made some costumes for us, there in Blackpool. We had only few days to prepare it all, it was Saturday and competition was on Thursday. We had our routine ready as we performed at the shows, so it was not a problem. We always practised very hard so we were ready for it. What we needed was to put ourselves into competition mode. And then we danced and won. This is how we started our competitive career in Exhibition. We danced the next 3 Blackpool festivals and 3 years of World championships.

One feels that you and Victor created almost perfect performance…
Exhibition is not about lifts only. Of course there is an important element of strength and difficulty of lifts as Exhibition dancing is physically very demanding. But, as I am a dancer, I wanted to bring element of dance into that movement. I wanted to create an impression of dancing in the air as I would do it on the floor. Victor is a perfect partner for that as he always made me feel as I could, when I am in the air, use his frame, his body to feel the floor. I could feel the floor through his feet. We connected these two bodies and felt we could create something special with or dancing.

You have decided to come back to Latin at some point
Victor and I separated in our private life. It was a difficult time for both of us, we did not feel it was possible to continue dancing together. I loved every minute of our dancing, despite the physical pain and bruises which are inevitable in the Exhibition dancing, I’ve never regretted and I loved it all. But couldn’t do it anymore. It was January; I split up with Victor and Slavik just split up with Elena. It was a good timing to try out and see if we could do it together. I was, at the time, so emotionally down, I wasn’t able to give him a clear answer if we could or could not dance together. I suppose I needed time for myself, I needed time to think it all through.

I went back to Finland, stayed with my parents for couple months and finally came to the decision that dance is still what I wanted to do. I did not feel that I could dance Exhibition style with anybody else, it was so special with Victor – the only way I could express myself was through latin. Slavik is a great dancer, we felt good together, so we’ve decided about March time that we going to do it, we will dance together. But it proved difficult, we were not based in one place, constantly moving, changing places and to find that connection together was a struggle all the time. We both love dancing, but we probably had slightly different views of how to commit, how to achieve our goals. It became a problem, not between us, but for our development in dancing. I never felt that we’ve committed to each other as I would have wanted.

I was particularly disappointed with our performance at the UK Open, not so much with the result, but with the dancing and that I wasn’t able to deliver as a dancer what I felt. We were not connected as a partnership, it was not Slavik’s fault or my fault – it just did not work out, it did not “click“. We talked to each other after UK Open about how we felt about it, I definitely did not feel I’d be able to develop my dancing as I wanted to if we continue the direction we were heading to. I said to Slavik that we had to make a change, it would have to be a change in the focus towards our dance, we would have to become much more focused together as a partnership or we had to stop. Slavik has already decided to stop, had other plans, so this conversation was easy in a way.

So you are back with Victor again_
The same year, in May, I was on my way to Blackpool. I arrived in London from Finland and Victor arrived from South Africa. We met in the airport in London first time in 1.5 years. My heart almost stopped when I saw him! We greeted each other politely but I wasn’t sure what kind of emotions may come out. It could have been anger, happiness, anything. But I looked at him and felt warmth. This is because we cared for each other very much. We shared so much history, through our dance, through living together, being together, having home together. It is not something you can discard easily.

We haven’t communicated for the past 1.5 years at all until that day we met at the airport by accident. We have found each other in different circumstances, and the time passed and helped to forgive and forget in a way, so we felt free. We felt we could be together again. It was the first Blackpool for both of us we’ve come to since our separation – I wasn’t able to come to the festival year earlier as I was in the hospital and Victor did not come either. It felt magical really for both of us, to be there again together. We spent most of the time there together and went to the practise. We found out that we both felt we missed that special connection we had while dancing. And we wanted to see how it feels like again. And it felt like we’ve never stopped and never separated from each other. Before that Blackpool I was really not sure what I wanted to do with my career, I was not sure if I wanted to compete anymore, or do shows in Latin or Exhibition or theatrical dances.

Meeting Victor at that time felt like destiny again – we met, we started to practise and we decided we wanted that partnership again. We are very close friends now, we care for each other very much and we both love to dance with each other. I feel very happy at this moment of my life.

Will we see you and Victor at the Dutch Open performing?
We are not sure yet, we do not plan to compete. But many things in our life happened unplanned. Actually, Dutch Open and Blackpool feel very special to me. There is something magical there, it is the floor. When you arrive on that floor, there is this intense feeling from the audience that is so special. Winning is great of course but this feeling is something I love the most.

Your most successful career in Latin was with Paul Killick
To me Paul is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. He could be so very demanding, even difficult at times, but I always knew how much he respected me and how much he loved to dance with me. And he was always able to bring this out of me that I wanted to do more. I can say that we were always able to inspire each other. And we were great friends as well. We spend most of the time together, we travelled together, and we shared a lot together. We know so much of each other. These years were very special to me.

You danced with Chris in Strictly Come Dancing, very first edition. What do you think of SCD, did it help to promote dancing?
I think that Strictly Come Dancing is a wonderful program. When you go there as a Professional dancer you must realise it will take all your time. That’s why I’ve done only one series. I knew I would be able to develop my own dancing, the way I wanted to, while I was involved in it. I knew I would dedicate only 3 months to it and then I would be out and dancing again myself. Some people, some dancers choose to go there and choose not to develop their own dancing anymore. So, from our point of view, it is a loss of some great dancers but it is also an opportunity for some of them, who, for instance, might not have been able to make the Blackpool final, to make their dancing successful for them, in a different form. They might feel that they can develop certain other things, become known more, perhaps acquire this celebrity status. And I believe that everybody is allowed to make their own choices and do what makes them happy. If you are asking about the general public, I can say that everywhere I go everyone knows and loves Strictly Come Dancing. It is very entertaining. I and Victor perform in many different countries and have opportunity to talk to people from many countries – we’ve done many shows for them – and people love it.

Did you take part in the Finnish edition of the program?
No, I did not. They asked us to dance the show for them but we were not able to, always wrong timing. Recently, in spring, I spent quite a lot of time in Finland and went to see the program live. Jukka Happalainen is judging there, so I went with Sirpa to watch. And the organisers asked if I could perform, but I did not have partner at the time. So it was not possible.

Do you find dancing more of a sport or more of an art?
This is very difficult question. Dancing is demanding physically, we need strength and stamina. So in this sense it is a sport. But, for me, the dancing is about art, it is creative performance with your body. But to be able to create something with your body you have to have strength in that body. When I dance, I never think of it as a sport. For me, I love the artistic side of it. I do not feel like an actor on stage, I feel like I this is coming from inside of me. It is about different emotions. I feel that I’ve developed that strength of bringing my own emotions from inside of me. So I do not feel that I am acting at any point of time. I am portraying what I experience with this person, at that time.

What would you change in dancing, if you could?
I would like to see more awareness of two people, really, truly connecting with each other. Not just the physical connection, not the eye contact, but something coming from inside, from their souls until they become one. This true emotion, and motion that the partnership brings out that richness of a dance. They become strong and intense through that connection. And they draw the audience with them. I do not believe that you can force the audience to go for you, but you can win them for you.

What is the difference between the Amateur and Professional dancing for you?
I think that when you become professional you begin to thrive more and you find your individuality, your own character. But, saying that, I believe that the Amateur field is so strong now and there are many real personalities there. However, you see more maturity in the Professional field than in Amateur. Maybe this comes with age as well. You become more aware of the world, you gain more knowledge and experience. When I started to dancing in the Professional field I was only 20 years old and I did not represent a mature professional dancer, I was a very young youth girl really. I was interested in everything and excited to try everything, learn everything but I did not know yet my personality which developed through the years later.

What gives you more satisfaction, Exhibition or Latin dancing?
I wouldn’t like to compare them because to me, it is dance, and with dancing in its best the form of the dance does not matter. You are expressing with your body, in this case with your partner, some emotions from the inside of you, from your soul. And it doesn’t matter what way you do it, up in the air, or on the floor. It is still an expression of yourself.

Which dances do you like most?
Tango! I love to watch and I love to dance it, if I can. If I teach the ballroom couple I always ask: let’s do tango. I love the strength and power of this dance. But I appreciate the other dances as well when I watch and see this fluid flow, and I mean this flow of movement, not the forced movement. My favourite Latin dance is the Rumba.

It is sad to think that we will not see you on the competition floor anymore…
For now I think that I will not do any competition in Latin. Definitely not now – competing is not in our plans. I do feel, however, that I still have too much dance inside me to finish performing all together. As for the competitions, I don’t want to say “never” – there were so many times when I thought that was it and then something come from around the corner and changed that. But with the Latin competitions I have this feeling that I am satisfied with I have done and I do not think I will be trying to go back. But with the Exhibition – yes, I think so. We have already done the show in USA and other countries and it seems to be a busy time ahead for us. We would like to focus on creating beautiful show numbers for the different audiences we perform around the world. We are happy that there are still people wanting to see us again.

Good luck! Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking to you.

British Open Championships 2009, Blackpool
04 Jun 2009 - Alex

End of May, and the whole Ballroom dancing community all over the world is buzzing as another British Open Championships is about to begin.
The dance studios in London are bursting at the seams as International couples have arrived to practice and have last minute private tuition with the top class world coaches. The costume makers are feeling it too, they are trying to make all the outfits for the couples and prepare for their exhibition stand at the biggest festival in the world. Blackpool here we come.
The festival has a packed schedule which lasts for 9 days, starting on Thursday 21st May 2009 and finishing on Friday 29th May 2009. There are many events taking place starting with the rising star amateur Ballroom and Latin competitions, along with under 21 Championships, over 35 senior Championships, Amateur events, exhibition championships, formation competition and finally professional championships in both styles of dance.
One of the most exciting nights is the invitational professional team match. Traditionally teams from 4 Countries are being invited to compete against each other. This year the Countries selected were: Germany, Italy, United States of America and Great Britain. Alex and Lisa were proud to be part of the British team selected this year as the number one latin american couple. The team match began with a walk on from each participating country, Germany started with a tap dance routine by their team captain Mr Oliver Wessel – Therhorn and every couple portraying a different style of dance matching the countries of the other teams. The biggest crowd pleaser was Franco Formica portraying Mr Rudolph Nuryev. The second team to walk on was United States of America which got a warm welcome from the audience with their reversal of roles. The standard couples did latin americain routines and the latin couples danced the routines of their ballroom colleagues – something not to bemissed !
The Italian team came on the 3rd with the boys pretending to be dogs!!!! A different breed of dog again to portray the other teams involved extremely comical with good costumes.

Finally the British teams entrance – this year the theme of the walk on was a circus, the whole team paraded alongside the Blackpool circus crew and 4 little boys dressed as clowns throwing sweets into the audience. The surprise came when 4 animals appeared onto the dance floor, firstly an elephant whom got Hazel Newberry up to dance, taking his mask off we realised it was the famous Sammy Stopford! Then came the lion dancing with Snezhana Draper whom was none other than Mr Goran Nordin. A Gorilla whom was misbehaving picked up Mrs Karen Hilton on to the dance floor had to be whipped in line by Alex Ivanets. After letting Karen go, he danced with Amy Bennett a paso doble ending with Amy revealing the gorillas identity as the comical Graham Oswick.

Finally Lisa Ivanets and the monkey jived onto the dance floor, after the monkey scratching his bottom and being cheeky to his partner it appeared that underneath the costume was the famous Latin Coach Mr Michael Stylianos. Another year of comical entries not to be missed leaving the audience in a good mood.

The official part of the team match began after the national anthems were played by Mr Ashley Froilick and his band. Only 4 couples were dancing on the beautiful Winter gardens floor at a time. United States were clear winners second year in a row – well done USA!
Sunday arrived, the day of the cocktail party. This is where the 4 teams prepare a tiny sketch on the Blackpool towers stage to thank organiser and major of Blackpool. It is a light hearted night where everyone lets their hair down, the ones to be mentioned in particular was the USA team where the four men dressed up as Susan Boyle(a star of Britains Got Talent) and the girls pretended to be judges of the show – Hilariously funny! Italians were proud to show that all their team members are Italian born. Showing their Italian passports on the stage bought the crowds to a standing ovation.
Finally the British team performed on the stage and sung the popular abba track ‘ Mamma Mia’ but with a twist – they had changed all the words to commiserate the loss the night before.

British Open Championships in Blackpool May 2008
02 Jun 2008 - Alex

Another year has gone by and all the best dancers from the most remote Countries in the World made their way to the capital of Ballroom Dancing – Blackpool!. The festival started much earlier for Alex and Lisa this year as they were invited to particpate in the Invitation Professional Team Match. It involved four Countries – Great Britain, USA, ITaly and Japan. This unique event included 4 Top Couples(2 Standard and 2 Latin) for each Country.

It was a very close fought Competition and Great Britain finished runners up behind USA. Unfortunately not everything went smoothly for the Great Britain Team this year as a week before the event our 2nd British Latin Couple had to withdraw from the team match due to visa problems but we still managed to finish in 2nd Place.

On the sunday night, the cocktail party took place where all the teams performed a stint on the stage at the famous Tower Ballroom in front of the Adjudicators and many other VIP guests including the Major of Blackpool. The theme for Great Britain’s performance was a tribute to Queen – the famous rock band. With Paul Killick being Freddie Mercury, we lit the light fantastic which resulted in a standing ovation from the crowd. Certainly a night to remember!!!

The main Professional Latin event took place on Wednesday night which started with over 320 couples participating in the preliminary rounds. This event was judged over separate dances, Alex and Lisa finished in 13th place in Cha Cha, Samba and Paso Doble missing Semi Final by one mark(top 12). In Jive they made the Semi final round and finsihed in 8th Place (next into the final) which was a fantastic result. It was a great improvement from last years results and Alex and Lisa were very proud to be the top British couple of this event.

MOVE IT 2008 - The UKs Biggest Live Dance Event
27 Mar 2008 - Alex

MOVE IT 2008The UKs Biggest Live Dance Event

British Dance is thriving with more people watching performances, taking classes and watching dance on tv more than ever before.
Depending on your personality whether you are looking for something funky, energetic, lyrical or classical, there is style of dance to suit everybody.

Both Alex and myself were delighted to be contacted by Move It Programme Manager Georgina Harper asking us to take part in this years exhibition.

When we decided to accept this invitation we did not realise how big an event it would be, apart from the massive stage in the main hall where the top UKs dancers performing
their hottest routines, there was also a huge exhibition centre for dance manufacturers to show their products and over 160 different dance classes taking place in 7 dedicated dance studios.

The duration of the festival was four days. It started on the Thursday with a fashion show which wasnt open for general public. This is where british and international dance manufactures could show their latest products. The rest of the weekend from Friday to Sunday was devoted to dancing itself. Literally thousands of youngsters with their parents or dance teachers were pouring out of the trains at the London Olimpia’s station to get to the opening of the doors for 10.30 in the morning.

Our involvment in the festival included 2 days: Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we performed a Latin american Showcase which took place on the main Stage. This Show spot was presented by our dress sponsor DSI and alongside the very creative Vicky Barques ( DSI designer) we choreographed a showcase lasting 8 minutes.

The Idea of this Perfomance was to show an evolution from Juvenile Dancer through Youth up to Professional level. To help us to portray this we danced alongside British Juvenile Champions Luke Miller and Hannah Crestwell and Youth Latin Champions Danny Stowell and Kate Moore.

We all met up in our studio in Southampton and choreographed the Show. After the perfomance we were
sharing our emotions with each other and all agreed that this was quite a special feeling to dance on such a massive stage on your own in front of a live audience of around five thousand people.

On Sunday morning we were back tat the Olimpia Arena. This time Alex was due to lecture at one of the worksops. Unfortunatelly I could not partner Alex on this ocassion, due to previous committments( British Dance Council) representing British Competitiors Association. But luckilly Linda Bellinger( Lisa’s mum) was able to help Alex in his lecture to demonstrate and teach participants. And just as well there were two of them as when they approached their dance studio allocated for their latin class, there were about 80 people, all of different ages and dance orientation queing up to take part in the class.

What a compliment it was for Alex and Linda and for Latin-American Dancig that so many people were keen to learn it!!! The dance chosen for the workshop was Cha-cha and all the participants seemed to really enjoy the dance routine. Following Alex’s lecture was a workshop by Strictly Come Dancing Professionals Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup, it only shows how popular Ballroom and Latin American has become over the past few years.
The whole event was coming to an end. After final meetings with Dancewear companies and talks to colleagues and friends in the business we made our way back to Southampton.

We wish all the luck to the organisers of this event and look forward to participating in the future years!!!

Trip to Bangkok- Thailand
22 Apr 2007 - Alex

After having a little break from trips to Asia, we were delighted and looking forward to attending the opening of Summer Mansion Grand Hall Calebrations in Bangkok. We accepted this trip over a year ago at the UKA Congress in Blackpool when the orgaqniser of the event Mr Somchai was charmed by Lisa’s dancing and her lecture and asked us if we would come and demonstrate for him for the opening of his new Dance Ballroom. Unfortunately due to the sudden death of his father Alex was not at the lecture sodid not get the opportunity to meet Mr Somchai in England previously.

The trip was made even more enjoyable when we realised that we would be in the company of Mr Paul Beeton, Mr David Roberts (president of UKA), Graham Cookes and Miss Sue Walker. You can almost guarantee a laugh a minute when you are with David!! Sometimes we wonder where he gets all his enthusiam for all the jokes…. you can just imagine what the jokes were like!!

We finally arrived in Bangkok and after long clearance from passport control, we were very honoured to be met by Mr Somchai himself. They took us straight to the Summer Mansion which is a building right in the centre of Bangkok owned by Mr Somchai. He is quite an amazing man and here is a little story on how he got involved into dancing:

His adventure in to dancing started in 1993 when he was invited to a Dinner Dance and absolutely fell in love with Ballroom and Latin Dancing. It became his favourite hobby. AFter visiting England and watcing the Open British Championships in Blackpool, his ambition grew more to dance and started studying and practicing his own dancing much more… He eventually completed his studies and examinations of dancing techniques with the UKA and became an International adjudicator for the World Dance Council.

The celebration of this event lasted over 3 days. The first evening we were all invited to a Welcoming dinner dance. Alongside the beautifully served food, we were entertained by a live band which enabled all local dance couples to get up and have a jig around. The second evening was the main celebration featuring cabarets by ourselves and our Italian colleagues. Fortunately we had the whole day to ourselves to do a little bit of sightseeing of Bangkok which we were looking forward to immensly especially when we found out that David and the rest of the “gang” would be joining us for the tour of Bangkok. As not only is David got a great knowledge of Asian Countries but also he is great fun to be around. So we started our day with a trip on a James Bond boat at the local river eventually going in to the “canal system of Bangkok.” That made a great impact on us as seeing what conditions people live in and on the hand seeing beautiful Buddha temples. By midday we were all exhausted and tired so we decided to make our way back to the Summer Mansion and prepare for the evening.

Eventually we got the the main party which was the whole point of our visit to do a cabaret and even there we could not go without surprises. Unfortunately the man whom was in charge of music could not quite understand all the details which were explained to him by an interpreter so ourselves and the Italians ahd to improvise on the spot to cope with the slight technical fault. But we got there in the end and both couples had a standing ovation from the audience.

Finally our trip was coming to the end, during the last day of our stay in Thailand we assisted Mr Paul Beeton in his 2 hour lecture on Cha cha, Samba and Paso.

But it was not the end of attractions we had one more evening to go and again we could not go withoug surprises there. We both have visited a lot of places around the world and have seen a lot of wonders but this waws something special. The main cabaret for the 3rd day of celebration was a show by a group of ‘Ladyboys’ whom are very famous in Thailand. Both Lisa and I and the whole crowd of British guests were absolutely gob smacked as we have never seen anything like this before, but this was not the end of it. The song ‘Cant take my eyes off of you’ came on and one of the Ladyboys dragged Alex on to the dance floor to be his/her dance partner! By this time we were all under the table laughing our heads off. Alex definately played up the part thats all we are saying about it. The evening finished, our bags packed, it seemed impossible but it was time to catch our flight home. Before we reached the airport we all stopped off at the famous night market so everybody had the last chance to pick up some souvenirs from their trip.

This was the end of another successful trip to Asia. Many thanks should go to Mr Somchai for making the weekend possible and to Mr David Roberts for giving us a chance tot meet such a great guy as Mr Somchai. This trip was special in our hearts as not only did we do our work but we had the oppotunity to see some local sites and to explore Thai culture….

Our Trip to Aberdeen
22 Apr 2007 - Alex

Having done 2 demonstrations in Scotland in the past year – One in Aberdeen* for the Northern Dance Club and one in Glasgow for the sixtieth Anniversary of Scottish Dancesport, we were pleased to hear back from Elaine Sim, the organiser of the Aberdeens showcase, and with great pleasure accepted this invitation.

After our visit last year, the circumstances in Aberdeen had changed, firstly Elaine waws not representing Northern Dance Club anymore and secondly the reason for organising the dance evening was of a great nature – a fund raising event for the stolen cd collection of the Great George, whom plays the music for all dancing events in the Aberdeen area and is a very liked man withing the dancing community.

We landed in Aberdeen on Friday 25th August and we couldn’t believe the weather, it was a lovely sunny day. George and Elaine commented that we had brought this gorgeous weather with us….. After being collected from Aberdeen Airport by George and Elaine, we dropped our luggage off at Audrey and Alexs house and were taken on a fabulous trip to Kildrummy Castle for lunch and looked around at the surrounding beautiful scenery of this ancient Castle.

That was not the end of Fridays attractions, in the evening we had an opportunity to meet some of the people involved in helping with this event. Audrey and Alex, George and Elaine, May, and Kyle joined us for a lovely meal in the hotel where the event was to be held.

Saturday morning arrived, and everhybody seemed to be very busy doing different things – Audrey and Elaine were still sorting out the tickets as it was a sell out but people were still ringing on the day for tickets whilst we were busy teaching local dancers. We always bring different knowledge and experiences from our trips and this case was no exception. It was interesting to meet the line dancers from *Portishead*(the famous fishing town at the top of Scotland). We didn’t realise how big line dancing was in Scotland. These people compete all over the World especially America just like ourselves and they were keen on the technique of Ballroom and Latin Dancing.

Finally Saturday evening arrived- the time for the demonstration night. And there was another surprise in store, as well as ourselves a group of the dancers from Aberdeen had prepared a showcase involving singing and dancing from famous 20s classics includingthe Boogie Woogie, Underneath the Arches, and many more…. It was a tremendous display and extremely comical (some of the men were dressed up as ladies with coconuts on their chests and straw skirts….. something not to be missed.)

By the time our turn arrived the public had already been put in the mood for entertainment. the show was received very well and we believe the whole evening was a great success and that a huge amount of money was raised towards Georges stolen music (£700 just on the raffle and the rest in ticket sales)

The next day we continued teaching until late afternnon, our final highlight of the trip was a party organised at Audrey and Alexs house to celebrate the end of a fabulous weekend. Magnificient food was served including some traditional Scottish dishes for us to try – Haggis, Smoked salmon…. The evening ended with a sing song to the musical Sound of Music, amazingly everybody joined in and we were also entertained by the wonderful singing from the 84 year old George, live Harmonica playing by Ian and to finish the evening he decided to dress up as a nun to fit in with the Sound of Music theme… Another night definately not to be missed.

This draws the end of our trip to Aberdeen, we were much happier this time as we had much more time to absorb rich Scottish spirit. We will definately come back.

Our sincere thanks goes to Audrey and Alex, George and Elaine for great hospitality over the weekend

Thank you…..