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BYU Ballroom Dance Company wins two firsts at Blackpool Dance Championships

The Ballroom Dance Company from Brigham Young University took first place in both the British Modern Formation and the Latin Formation Dance Championships at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England. They competed against dance companies from China, Germany, Great Britain and the United States.

“We have worked so hard, and felt the pressure of preparing,” said Chelsie Nichols, one of the BYU dancers. According to artistic director Lee Wakefield, the company practices more than 180 hours for each routine they perform.

The last time that BYU took first place in the Modern Formation Championships was in 2007. They also took first in 2004.

The BYU Modern Formation team performed a piece titled “Americana” directed by Wakefield and his wife, Linda. The dance was choreographed by two world-recognized dancers, Alain Doucet and Annik Jolicoeur, to music composed by Kurt Bestor.

The Latin Formation Team was also coached by the Wakefields and featured choreography by accomplished Latin dancers Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis, and Eugene Katsevman and Maria Manusova.

This year's Latin team was noted as an unusually cohesive, tight-knit group who clearly worked and danced in a seamless manner, as one integrated whole, according to the Wakefields.

The BYU team took the Latin trophy in 2004 and took second place in the Latin Formation in 2007.

The full BYU Ballroom Dance Company, made up of the two formation teams, will now embark on a two-week performance tour of England and Scotland, with their next event in the Troxy Grand Hall of London.

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Ballroom dancers took international first prizes in both British modern and Latin formation.
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