Dancing Notes from 1964

Richard Gleave shares some notes he made in 1964 about the famous Butlins Filey Dance Festival, The International and more
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By Richard Gleave

Recently, I had cause to look at some of my dancing notes, from 1964! At the time of writing, these notes I was 20 years old! I hope they will be at least entertaining and give you an idea of dancing all those years ago.

Butlins Filey Dance Festival – written 4th September 1964
This was the night of Professional competition and Cabaret. The professional competition was very badly supported. Only two really good professionals were entered. But still, one cannot expect anything else when the prize money is only £30.00. Twenty less than the Amateur! It was won by Harris who in my opinion didn’t dance at all well. Second were Eric Lashbrooke and Norma Graves. John Irvine was third, he still breaks in the middle and is much too weak. Fourth were my winners, Rudi Trautz and Mechtild. They danced very well indeed, apart from Quickstep. I had seen them the week before in London, but on a big floor they looked even better.

The Cabaret was excellent, and with Peter Eggleton and Brenda Winslade opening, made a fitting finale to the week. Some of their variations are simply terrific and the way that they perform them – perfect! One in particular caught my eye – in the foxtrot, its called the Whiplash or at least that is what I’ve called it. It comes from a Chair and instead of stopping, the girl does a right foot ronde, making at the same time a figure eight movement, very fast, with the body and head.

Laird and Lorraine gave a scintillating exhibition of Latin American which brought the house down!

And last to perform were the reigning World Champions Bill and Bobbie Irvine. Their control, movement and variations are terrific. I must confess that I “pinched” several of their groups, especially in Tango and Foxtrot and got some very good ideas in the other dances as well.

All in all it was a good week with fairly good results in the finals. Perhaps next year they will have knocked down the pillars, and the band will play faster quicksteps, I hope so!

Some more thoughts from my Diary

Thursday 29th October 1964
International Day!
I arrived at the Albert Hall at about 12.30pm. Our first round was at 1.20pm. We both felt a bit nervous.
We danced very well in the afternoon and evening and it brought its own reward with us finishing 10th! Anyway the finishing positions were:
1st John and Betty Westley
2nd George Coad and Pat Thompson
3rd Ernie and Myra Chatt
4th Mervyn Higgins and June Hunt
5th Tommy Gray and Norma Saville
6th Brian Issac and Gaye Biffen
They were the finalists. Finishing positions for the remaining semi-finalists were as under:
7th Ray and Shiela Moore (22 marks to the final)
8th Byran Charlton and Pam Perkin (17 marks)
9th Bob Adams and Pat Fletcher (13 marks)
10th Richard Gleave and Janet Wade (11 marks)
11th Rodney Weeks and Sandra Warne (8 marks)
12th Graham Stowbridge and Pat Carder (6 marks)
13th Derek Green and June Aspland (4 marks)
14th Charles and Joan Butterworth (1 mark)
In the Professional Peter Eggleton and Brenda Winslade were first, 2nd Eric Donaldson and Edna Barnett, 3rd Michael Needham and Monica Dunsford, 4th Anthony Hurley and Fay Saxton, 5th Denis Udell and Joyce Brampton, 6th Michael Houseman and Valerie Waite.
John and Grace Delroy won the Duel of the Giants from George Begley and Madge Larney.

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