Ballroom Dance Company

BYU’s Ballroom Dance Company Takes Top Prize at the British Open Championships in Blackpool, England

Contributing choreographer Andre Paramonov and director Curt Holman and Sharon Holman pose with the BYU Ballroom Dance Latin-medley dancers following their Blackpool win.

In 1971, BYU became the first American ballroom dance formation team to win the prestigious British Championships. Now, 42 years later, BYU once again competed at Blackpool to vie for this coveted title. Curt Holman, artistic director for Ballroom Dance Company, acknowledged that the team’s stiffest competition came from China, who sent two of their most accomplished teams.

The BYU dancers took to the hallowed floors of the Empress Ballroom to present their competition ballroom medley “Fiddler on the Roof” and Latin medley “Somebody to Love.” The performances resulted in two first place awards.

BYU Ballroom Dance Company members, together with contributing choreographer Marat Gimaev and director Curt Holman and Sharon Holman, proudly display their first-place trophy for their ballroom medley “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Afterward, Gary McDonald from the National Dance Council of America remarked, “BYU’s performance to a packed house was electric, resulting in a rare, enthusiastic, and well-deserved standing ovation. BYU continues to set the standard for competitive formation dancing!” Blackpool Dance Festival organizer Natalie Hayes concurred. “Something extra special always happens when BYU competes in Blackpool,” she said.

Director Holman remarked that while winning is always the ultimate goal, it is only a portion of the experience, which started with music selection and choreographic direction in July 2022. The last leg of the journey began on May 1, 2023, with daily rigorous rehearsals to perfect the artistic and technical components required for this level of competitive dance.

The victorious BYU Ballroom Dance Company gathers outside the historic Winter Gardens, Blackpool, United Kingdom, following two days of competition.

Reflecting on the time he spent preparing for and participating in the championships, dancer Logan Barnes, who graduated with a BA in dance in April, said, “Having the opportunity to compete with the BYU Ballroom Dance Company in Blackpool has been the most enriching experience I’ve had during my education at BYU. As a team we grew in our own technical dancing and developed our characters as we worked together toward a common goal. Nothing beats the feeling of stepping on the floor to give it your all. It was a dream come true.”