Couples Step into Strictly dancing event

Brave amateur dancers took to the stage for Brain Tumour Charity’s Step into Strictly event.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 3:54 pm

The eight couples had had just ten hours to learn and practice their Waltz and Cha-cha routines, which they recently performed in front of the 250-strong crowd at The Engine Shed in Wetherby.

Compered by actor Thomas Lillywhite, the event was declared a huge success in raising over £9,500 through a combination of dancers’ sponsorship, ticket sales, the raffle and a silent auction.

Event organiser Nicki Hood, Philanthropy and Partnerships Manager at Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity, commented: “It was fantastic to see the results of all our couples’ hard work culminating in such a fun and entertaining event.

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“A huge thank you goes to the four local dance teachers who generously gave up their time to teach complete beginners and create such memorable routines, as well as the sponsors, judges and volunteers, without whom the event could not have taken place.”

The participants were all amateurs and many had never danced before taking on the challenge – some had also never met their dance partner prior to their first lesson together.

Former BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration took on the role of Head Judge for the evening and was joined by The Dance Studio Leeds founder Katie Geddes and National Amateur Champ, Ian Watson on the judging panel.

The judges were impressed by all the dancers’ routines and congratulated them on learning difficult Latin and Ballroom techniques in such a short space of time.

Special guest performances from the Dance Studio Leeds Jazz and Street crews brought the show to life, and a surprise Jive number from YBTC Ambassador John Eyre and his wife Carolyn delighted the unsuspecting audience at the end of the night.

Steampunk-loving husband and wife Karola and Mark Cramoysan from Boroughbridge beat stiff competition to take home the trophy, dancing the Waltz to See The Day by Dee C Lee in the dance-off.

After the show, the dancers, audience, judges and compere all came together on the dance floor for a disco, celebrating the charity’s 18th birthday.

Judge Harry Gration said: “It was a lovely evening in every way and it was great to be a part of such a special event.

“I have supported the charity in the past for their Flat Cap Friday campaign and was thrilled to take part again as head judge, watching the couples’ brilliant routines.”

Step Into Strictly 2021 Champion, Karola, said: “Thank you so much to everybody involved in making this night as perfect and special as it was. It was a truly amazing experience and we will definitely never forget the night that we became Step into Strictly winners and won the glitterball trophy.

“We have been fortunate to never have to deal with someone close to us having a brain tumour, but seeing what the charity was doing, and the accounts of those who have been affected, how could we not try to do our bit?

“We would like to thank all of the people that came to support us, and those who could not come but donated so generously to help raise much needed funds for such an amazing charity.”

The dancers’ JustGiving pages are still live and donations are still coming in, bringing the total raised by the event close to £10,000. To sponsor any of the dancers or find out more about their stories and reasons for taking part, go to yorksbtc.org.uk/strictly

All funds raised will go towards supporting Yorkshire-based brain tumour patients and their families and funding vital research.