When the Regency Dance Awards ‘Open to the World’ competition results were announced last weekend, Louisa Clarke, 8, from Barnsley, found out that she was in the best three for six different dances, including first place in U10 beg waltz and quickstep and U12 beg waltz.
The Regency Dance Awards competition took place online this year. Anyone from around the world could enter. Participants had to send a video of individual dances, so the judges could mark them.
Claire Louisa Clarke, Louisa’s mother, said: “Louisa was thrilled with her results and cannot wait for live competitions to start again as she misses the atmosphere and her dance friends from around the country.
“Louisa loves to compete, it is her favourite part of dancing. She also loves preparation for competitions, getting to wear beautiful dresses, performing in some of the most beautiful ballrooms in front of the audience.
“Since March 2020 no live competitions as we knew them have been able to take place. Organisers have held online competitions via video submission zoom calls.
“Dancers missed the buzz of the competition atmosphere, the excitement of travelling the country, the cheering of the crowds, the friends they meet there and that feeling when your number is called for 1st place!
“For us, mums, it has definitely been stressful having to video the dances, experiencing I.T issues, ensuring suitable internet connection for zoom competitions, sending payments and entries on time. For me, it was especially challenging as I work full time for the NHS!
“Due to restrictions lifting, Louisa recently was able to go back to the studio in Rotherham, where she usually trains at least five hours per week.
“But during Covid, she had lessons on zoom and had to dance in our front room, on the carpet. It was not ideal and sometimes really difficult for her. She also danced in the garden and even in the supermarket aisles. She has started dancing when she was two and now practices at every opportunity.
“Louisa regularly makes finals and places in the top three. She is the current All England Under 8 Ballroom and Sequence champion which she won at the beginning of this year! Over 2500 competitors from 13 countries entered that competition, as it was open to the world! I am beyond proud of Louisa’s successes! She is a very talented little girl and has the passion and determination to continue to grow and succeed.”