REPORT FOR OLD TIME BALL AT WESTON-SUPER-MARE
The Old Time Dance Society held its 2013 Ball of the Year in the beautiful West of
England resort of
Weston-Super-Mare from Friday 24th May to Monday 27th May 2013. Dancers started
to arrive early in the week to enjoy some of the beautiful countryside and beaches
Our Hotel for the weekend was the magnificent Webbington Spa Hotel, once a luxurious
Edwardian Country House, nestling in the beautiful green hills of Somerset, with
panoramic views over the county. As is so often the case in England in the Spring
the weather can be somewhat unpredictable, but as is so often the case, the moment
dancers started arriving from all over the UK, the skies cleared, the sun shone in
a clear blue sky and by the end of the first day there were a number of sun blushed
Our venue for the three evenings dancing was the magnificent Ballroom at the Winter
Gardens situated on the sea front at Weston-Super-Mare. With about 200 in attendance
for our pre-Ball dance on Friday evening we got off to a great start with our excellent
Hosts & Leaders, Peter and Marjorie Bowler from Gloucester with a first class programme
of dances for our first evening. Peter and Marjorie’s first nights task was made
considerably easier because right behind them they had the musical backing of one
of England’s finest Old Time Musicians – Mr David Ingley who played superbly on
all 3 nights.
Saturday Morning dawned to a clear blue sky with the sun shining brilliantly so we
were spoiled for choice with so many different attractions and places to go. Many
were persuaded to visit the old “Clarkes Village”, so called after the Shoe Manufacturers
C. & J. Clarke who first set up their shoe business in the village in 1825. Today
the village, known as “Street” resembles a lovely kind of “Disneyland Theme Park”
- the attractions being , ‘90 of the UK’s leading stores’ having “Outlet” shops
- offering up to 60% off the price -- Everyday!!! -- What More Can I Say!!!
There is always a buzz of excitement on Saturday Evening as dancers get dressed up
in their finest to await the coaches to escort the very well dressed passengers the
short drive from our hotel to the Winter Gardens Ballroom. The Saturday night is
always a glittering affair and tonight our Hosts & Leaders for the Ball are the President
Elect of the U.K.A. Society - Sue Burroughs and her dance partner Andrew Davies of
Weston-Super-Mare. We all had very high expectations of Sue and Andrew, but they
surpassed even our best hopes, with a Dance, Master Class in Style & Technique of
exactly how Old Time should be done. With a packed dance floor for all of the 26
Dances on the program, it proved to be one of the best and most memorable Balls of
the Year. By the time our coaches arrived to take us home, there were visible signs
of fatigue and aching feet! But, the evening hadn’t quite finished yet!
The coach ride back to the Hotel after Midnight took us down some of Somerset’s darkest,
narrow, winding lanes, so what was needed was a “firm hand on the wheel” and for
a second time that night, we were treated to a ‘Master Class’ - this time it was
the well-known West Country Art of “Reversing a full coach up a narrow winding lane
in pitch black conditions - to our Hotel after Midnight!!! - But we needn’t have
worried as it was achieved to perfection on all three nights - without a scratch!
Sunday Morning – Yet another perfect day so there was another chance to see more
of Weston-Super-Mare, with its beautiful beaches, sun-bathing, donkey rides, old
fashioned pier plus a huge shopping centre – surly too much for one day.
Sunday Evening, our last evening together came all too quickly. Our guest Leaders
& M.C’s were the excellent Robert & Christine Haywood from Barnsley, who armed with
a great program of dances presided over a wonderful last night of our Ball Weekend
which sadly come to an end, so quickly.
This Wonderful Weekend of Dancing slipped by so quickly and so effortlessly that
we are inclined to forget that all this did not happen by chance – It was only made
possible as a result of the huge amount of work behind the scenes by the Committee,
the Leaders and many others who contributed in so many ways, in particular our Events
Organizer – Paul Harding upon who’s shoulders, much of this task fell – so a very
big thank you & “Well Done”.