Guernsey Press

Island could attract 1,000 competitors for global DanceSport contest

International DanceSport is returning to Guernsey, after the Guernsey All DanceSport Association secured funding for an event from Guernsey’s Tourism management board.

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Left to right, Guernsey All DanceSport Association chairman Jamie Le Tissier, Peter Nash, BDSA development director, Gada committee member Bonnie Lehr, Jade Kershaw from Guernsey Arts Commission, Karen and Marcus Hilton and Neil Harrison from the BDSA. (32881960)

DanceSport is what used to be referred to as competitive ballroom dancing, renamed to suit its modern image as a demanding sport, recognised by the Olympics.

Gada chairman Jamie Le Tissier said that the event could attract 1,000 competitors to the island, along with a lot of other visitors.

‘We are talking about visitors from across the world coming to Guernsey, from Mexico to Mauritius, as well as the rest of the British Isles and Europe,’ he said.

‘Young competitors will obviously come with family and that will boost numbers.

‘There will also be a team from Guernsey and we are hoping to enter an event in the Isle of Man in the summer in preparation.’

The Tourism Management Board has awarded nine groups a total of £150,00 for projects aimed at bringing additional visitors to the Bailiwick. Gada was among those of the groups to benefit.

Last October representatives from the British DanceSport association visited Guernsey to discuss hosting an international competition and the funding from the tourism board proved key.

‘It would not have been realistic to run the event without the extra funding,’ he said.

‘We are still on the look out for more local support to help fund trophies and prize money and would love to hear from anyone who wanted to get involved.’

Mr Le Tissier, who used to represent Guernsey and Great Britain in ballroom competitions, said that from 2004 to 2009 there were very successful international competitions held in Guernsey.

These stopped mainly due to a loss of funding caused by pressures of the global financial crash.

Dance on the island was now growing again after being ‘hammered’ by the pandemic, he said.

‘We are picking up speed as a participation sport and having the championships will really help.’

The competition is due to take place at Beau Sejour from 7-9 December, and will include para DanceSport categories where at least one of the dancers is in a wheelchair.

Islanders will have the chance to get their own ‘Strictly’ fix when tickets go on sale once details are finalised.