The final countdown!

I can’t believe we are almost there! John and I are now surrounded by piles of items waiting to be packed and I am doing the final round of paperwork. It seems like the year has just whizzed by and I am getting excited at meeting up with my extended ‘Celebrating Dance Family.’ Old friends to catch up with and new friends to make, all part of what makes the festival the absolute highlight of our year!

So with all that in mind here are some hints and tips to help you get the best out of your Celebrating Dance Experience.

What, where, when.

  • What time should I arrive at the hotel? Check in is from 3pm onward. There are a lot of us to check in so please be patient – the hotel staff will process everyone as quickly as they can. If there is a long queue you can always browse the souk, enjoy tea in the lovely Buckingham Lounge or visit the spa. Don’t forget that there is a 15% discount on spa treatment if you book in advance – details about the spa can be found at http://www.tlh.co.uk/aztec-spa
  • The Information Desk and the Souk are open from lunch time on Friday afternoon. Either before or after you have checked into your room, please come and register with us so we know you’ve arrived. The Information Desk is situated outside the Greenway Room just past the bay-windowed restaurant area and the souk is opposite in the Greenway Room. You will receive a copy of the weekend Event Guide when you register which will have details of where each workshop will take place and key information like meal times and starting times.
  • What if I’m not staying at the hotel? Local dancers can register during the evening on Friday or first thing Saturday morning, if they are unable to do so on Friday afternoon.
  • Doors open to Chatsworth for the Delegate Showcase on Friday and the Gala Show on Saturday at 7.45pm, but things do not get under way until approximately 8.15pm and usually run to around midnight.
  • Delegate Showcase performers – please be ready to hand in your clearly labelled music at the Information Desk when you register. The running order will be on display here and in the Chatsworth Suite so that you can check when you are performing.

When do things take place?

  • Breakfast is served from 7.45 am to 10 am on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Dinner is served from 6.30 pm on Saturday and Sunday

Workshops sessions are as follows (the same each day)


Session 1
– 9 am to 11 am.
Session 2 – 11.30 am to 1 pm.
Session 3 – 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm.

Refreshment Breaks

Saturday Morning – 11 am to 11.30 am. Lunch – 1 pm to 2.30 pm

Sunday Morning – 11 am to 11.30 am.  Lunch – 1 pm to 2.30 pm. Afternoon – 4.30 pm to 5 pm.

What to wear to workshops?

  • Lots of loose, comfortable layers that can be put on or taken off as required. Always have an extra layer to put on after a workshop is over to help protect those well-used muscles.
  • Think about your feet. The Chatsworth and Arlington ballrooms both have wooden dance floors but the Garden and Rougemont rooms are carpeted. It’s worth wearing either a low-heeled dance shoe or soft ballet shoes for at least some of the time just to give your feet a break. Take a few moments each day to give your feet a gentle massage with a foot balm – you’ll be glad you did!
  • We all like our jingly, sparkly hip belts don’t we? They do however tend to shed beads and sequins, so if you notice that there are beads or sequins on the floor please pick them up or brush them to the side of the dance space so that they don’t get stuck in yours or anyone else’s feet. Bring a spare to the workshop so that you can swap yours out if it starts to misbehave.

Workshop Etiquette.

  • Please try to arrive on time for workshops and if you are late, slip in as unobtrusively as possible.
  • It’s important to stay hydrated but we would appreciate it if you could avoid eating or drinking anything on or near the dance space and take all your wrappings/empty bottles with you at the end of the session.
  • Only take photos and videos with the express permission of the instructor. Most instructors won’t mind a small amount of this at the end of a workshop but always ask for permission first.
  • Turn your phone either off or to silent/vibrate and if you absolutely have to take a call, please go outside of the workshop room to do so.
  • Be prepared to rotate rows so that everyone who wants to can have the opportunity to be at the very front.
  • If you are unsure of something or need it explained/demonstrated again – don’t be shy, ask! 🙂

Party Time!

Friday and Saturday nights are boogie nights, dress up as much as you like and be prepared to bop the night away after the formal parts of the evening are over!

  • What to wear. The hotel dress code is Smart Casual – no jeans please but other than than you can dress up as much or as little as you want, just remember to come prepared to dance!
  • Performing in the Delegate Showcase? Make sure you are costumed and ready at the start of the segment you are in.
  • Cheer the performers on by clapping where appropriate.
  • Got a favourite song you all enjoy dancing to? Bring it with you and we’ll play it during the party!

Picture This!

Our fabulous house photographer Kathryn Goddard of Capture This Moment will be on hand to take photos on both evenings. She will photograph all the performances in the Delegate Showcase and will also have her booth set up where you can have individual portraits taken by appointment. Kathryn also offers a calendar of her favourite images from the Gala Show which you can order in advance with a percentage of the profits going to charity.

Some final words.

We want you to enjoy your time at Celebrating Dance and will do our utmost to ensure that you have a great time. If you have any questions at all during the weekend please let us know and we will do our very best to sort it out.

We look forward to seeing you all in just a few days time and it’s now time for me to get back to the packing – see you all on Friday!

Afra xx

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