Blackpool Dance Festival History – Australasian Dancers

The Blackpool Dance Festival and British Open To The World Championship, the world’s first and foremost festival of Ballroom Dancing, has been an extremely important part of the Australasian dancing scene. We would like to pay tribute to those Australasian dancers who sacrificed so very much and put Australia and New Zealand on the world dancing map, and continue to do so today. We have tried to list all semi finalists and finalists over the years so we do apologies if we have missed any results as this information has been rather difficult to gather up. 

We would like to thank the following people for their wonderful support in helping us put this together as best we can.  Philip Nicholas, Larry & Kerry Clarke, Julie Jones, Julie Schembri, Neil Rosenfeld, Tony Gauci, Greg Smith, Wendy Thornton Jackson, Glen Tierney, Julie Patchett, Jason Gilkison, Donna Shingler, Paul Wilson, Candy Lane (New Zealand), Peter Smith, Roslyn Smith, Richard Morrissey, Stephen Pulbrook, Neale Byrnes and Robert & Helen Richey.

The first Blackpool Dance Festival was held in 1920 in the magnificent Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens where it is still held to this day, always on the last week of May each year.

The best Ballroom and Latin dancers from right across the globe make their way to Blackpool to compete every year against the best of the best and also to be adjudicated by the best in the business.  All of the adjudicators at the Blackpool Dance Festival have been previous winners of this championship in either the Amateur or Professional events and know how hard it is, and what is needed, to become the champions of the largest and most prestigious Ballroom Dancing Championship in the world.

Australia and New Zealand have many dancers each year travelling to Blackpool to try to become the next British Open Champions.  Along the way in its’ very long history, Australasian dancers have clinched the prestigious British Open Title 22 times which includes Professional x 2, Professional Rising Star x 8, Amateur x 6, Amateur Rising Star x 3, Youth x 1 and Senior x 2, so here is a brief history of those results we could manage to get a hold of, of those Australian and New Zealand couples who have made the semi final and final rounds and become the champions over the years.