Blackpool International Dance Festival arrives in Shanghai

The Blackpool International Dance Festival in Shanghai arrived , with over 7,400 entrants drawn from over 4m dancing enthusiasts across China, the Blackpool International Dance Festival was bound to make an impression on the Shanghai stage, over 6,000 miles away.

Over the 5-day event from, it did just that, putting Blackpool firmly on the map for the Chinese dancing fraternity.

For over nine decades the Blackpool Festival has been attracting crowds to the North-West coast, with dancers from all over the world taking part in this prestigious event which took place in the magnificent Empress Ballroom with its huge domed ceiling, rich polished parquet floor and stunning crystal chandeliers.

Replicating the show in Shanghai would have been quite a task as the venues are so different. However the choice of the Shanghai Indoor Stadium worked extremely well, with its vacuous ceiling void, wooden flooring and seating for thousands of spectators.

The sparkling chandeliers were missing but everything else was imitated to perfection.

On the opening day, children stood in line in temperatures of over 34 degrees, ( and that's hot ) bursting with excitement at being part of such a grand spectacle. Dripping with sweat they practised their moves over and over again, determined to give the show their absolute best. As for the fabulous outfits, no expense had been spared by the local Chinese families, so proud of their children’s dancing abilities.

Inside, on a polished wood dance floor, in front of the replica Blackpool Dance Festival stage, children as young as four battled it out to become junior champions of their category. Later in the week, the serious dancing began with competitors flying into Shanghai from Russia, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Italy, Canada, USA, Moldavia, the Philippines, Korea, Japan. It was a truly international world-class event and the standard was exceptional.

Dancers competed to the beautiful sounds of the Original Empress Orchestra who were flown out to Shanghai from Blackpool to authenticate the event. If you closed your eyes and just listened you could be back in the Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom instead of inside an indoor arena in one of China’s most famous cities. Two of the directors Ms Carole Houston & Ms May Liu of The China UK Business Centre, based in Blackpool’s Airport Enterprise Zone, were in Shanghai on business so they decided to support Blackpool with its début dancing event.