This is just a short report as my lengthier report is going to published in the Linedancer magazine.  Suffice to say that the Crystal Boot Awards in Blackpool, UK, was even better than I could possibly imagine.  It was an absolutely amazing event.   To be invited to attend was enough of a thrill but to then to be invited to teach was such an honour, a choreographer's dream!!

This was the 19th year of the event and the 20th in 2016 was sold out by the end of this year's event.   That gives you some idea of the impression it has made on the dancers.  Betty Drummond, publisher of Linedancer magazine and the driving force behind the event, told me that at the beginning she had a vision of an event that would recognize our dance talent and bring it to prominence and that she has achieved.   It made me so proud to be a part of this major Gala Awards event. The event was incredibly well organized and the staff were terrific, welcoming and responsive.   At the same time, Betty, Steve Healy and Laurent Saletto, key figures in the event, seemed to be having as good a time as the dancers despite their onerous workload.

The event started on the Friday evening with easy teaches in the smaller ballroom by Tina Argyle, Dee Musk and Jennifer Choo..  In the main ballroom Ria Vos taught the LDF dance 'Coffee Time Samba'.  The video is now out and look out for Fred's Tuesday night class!  Lots of fun with a DJ challenge ....  six DJs chose a different piece of music for a popular dance and the audience voted on their favourite.   The DJs were excellent at this event taking turns with the controls with smooth transitions however we could usually tell that there was a different personality at the helm!!

Saturday and Sunday there were classes just in the massive main Ballroom, the Norcalympia, so everyone learnt together. They were taught by Alison & Peter, Karl Harry Winson, Yvonne Anderson, Niels Paulson, Neville & Julie,  Daniel Trepat, Maggie Gallagher, Simon Ward, Rob Fowler, Robbie McGowan Hickie and myself.  I released 'Her Memory', click here to check out the step sheet and videos.  Thanks so much to the dancers who were so patient in my class and remembered their shopping list .... potatoes, tomatoes, toilet rolls and toothpaste!!

Saturday evening was the Dinner, Show and Award Presentations.   The performances in the show were awesome, worthy of any stage.  In between each performances the Award Announcements were greeted with excitement and loud cheers .... check the Linedancer site for the winners and also for the dances taught during the weekend.  Sunday evening was the Fancy Dress Party and Costume Parade with Rumble in the Jungle as the theme.  I was one of the judges and it sure was a difficult task to choose just two winners!

The only problem was that the Event ended too quickly!   It was such a pleasure to meet up with old friends and make new ones from all over the world while at the same time feeling part of something very very special.    It was a highlight of my line dancing career and has left me with some unforgettable memories.    

Do check out the photos below to give you some idea of the fun we had!!!  

Thanks so much to my friend Cynthia Skublak for being such a patient and fun-loving travel companion.   

Blackpool, UK