When we all did ballroom blitz; Emma Pinch on the original Come Dancing craze: Conniewas our dancingqueen.
The magnets were places like the Grafton in Liverpool, the Ritz in Manchester and all the Locarnos, which became Top Rank suites." In Connie's day it was strictly ballroom, but soon Latin- American dancing set the public's imagination on fire with its sultry rhythms and close clinches. Dance halls like the Grafton, the Rialto and the Locarno were places where you could aspire to some of the glamour of your favourite film or singing stars, and find romance. Liverpool's dance halls were regularly beamed across the land when Come Dancing came to film the inter-regional dance-offs. Regular faces on the show were from the Liverpool Formation Dancing Team from the Billy Martin School as well as Constance Millington's team, who also featured in Victor Sylvester's Dancing Club. Billy Martin was the non-dancing captain of the North West team which also included amateur dance couple George Coad, from Lydiate and Maghull's Patricia Thompson. By 1960 Pat was just 18, holder of myriad championships for ballroom dancing and in the British International team and the reigning Ballroom Queen of Great Britain. But the real stars of Come Dancing were the dancers and amazing costumes. Sequins and feathers were where it was at. The girls at the Grafton and the Locarno echoed their elegance. During the 1950s, the development of man-made fibres, efficient factory production methods and an increase in ready-to-wear outfits meant that clothing became more affordable. Everyone could now buy mass produced copies of the latest trends from the fashion houses of Paris or London. The preferred female shape was curvy with wasp waists and wide skirts over many underskirts. Connie would probably raise an eyebrow at the costumes on today's version, but she'd no doubt approve of the passion it has re-awoken for the m
DOING THE GRAFTON GROOVE: Constance Millington's private dancing academy at the Grafton in the 1950s DYNAMIC DUO: George Coad and Patricia Thompson on their way to victory in the 1966 world ballroom dancing championships DANCING DESTINATION: The Majestic ballroom Picture: Roger Shone WINNERS: Britain's amateur ballroom dancing team, who competed against Denmark after a successful audition at the Grafton ALL DRESSED UP: The Constance Millington formation team
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Oct 3, 2009|
|Previous Article:||The week ahead.|
|Next Article:||Macauley Baying for first team; Nick Hilton's ROVERFLOW ROVERFLOW.|