Shining Bright: Meet the 2024 Blackpool Dance Festival’s Amateur Rising Stars

The Bright Future of Dance: Highlights from the Blackpool Dance Festival’s Amateur Rising Star Categories

The Blackpool Dance Festival, known as the “Mecca of Ballroom Dancing,” is one of the most prestigious dance events in the world. Held annually in the historic Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England, it draws the crème de la crème of the dance world. Sunday at the Blackpool Dance Festival is traditionally dedicated to the Amateur Rising Star categories, a showcase of the emerging talent poised to become the next generation of dance champions. This year, the spotlight shone brightly on two extraordinary pairs: Mark Chilcote and Madison Ingoldsby, and Sharif Mirhanov and Anna Dolgopolova.

The Champions of Amateur Rising Star Ballroom

Mark Chilcote and Madison Ingoldsby have solidified their status as rising stars in the dance world. Their remarkable performance at the Blackpool Dance Festival saw them placed first in all four dances in the Amateur Rising Star Ballroom category. This victory adds to their impressive achievements this year, including winning the Under 21 Ballroom European Championships and the UK Open 2024 in the same category.

Mark and Madison’s success is a testament to their dedication, skill, and chemistry on the dance floor. Their routines are characterized by precise footwork, fluid movements, and a deep emotional connection that captivates audiences. Each dance, whether it be the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, or Foxtrot, showcased their technical prowess and artistic expression.

The Journey of Mark Chilcote and Madison Ingoldsby

Mark and Madison’s journey to the top has been marked by relentless hard work and passion. Both dancers began their training at a young age, developing their skills through rigorous practice and competition. Their partnership, forged in the crucible of competitive dance, has flourished over the years. The synergy between them is evident in every performance, where they move as one, creating beautiful, seamless routines.

Their coach, a renowned figure in the dance community, has played a pivotal role in honing their technique and guiding their artistic development. The coach’s emphasis on the importance of musicality, expression, and connection has helped Mark and Madison elevate their performances to new heights.

Sharif Mirhanov and Anna Dolgopolova: The Rising Stars of Latin

In the Amateur Rising Star Latin category, Sharif Mirhanov and Anna Dolgopolova delivered a series of electrifying performances that earned them the top spot. Although they were placed second in the Cha Cha, their dominance in the remaining dances – the Samba, Rumba, and Jive – secured their overall victory. Sharif and Anna are no strangers to success, having been crowned the Under 21 Latin World Champions in 2023.

Their performances are a thrilling blend of technical precision, dynamic energy, and captivating artistry. Each dance is a showcase of their versatility and skill, from the lively rhythms of the Samba to the passionate intensity of the Rumba. Their Jive, in particular, left the audience breathless with its high-energy kicks and flicks.

The Journey of Sharif Mirhanov and Anna Dolgopolova

Sharif and Anna’s journey in the world of dance began at a young age, much like their Ballroom counterparts. They have dedicated countless hours to training and perfecting their craft, guided by their experienced coach. Their partnership, characterized by mutual respect and a shared passion for dance, has been the foundation of their success.

Their coach has emphasized the importance of physical fitness, stamina, and technical excellence in Latin dance. Under their coach’s guidance, Sharif and Anna have developed a training regimen that balances technique with performance, ensuring that they can deliver show-stopping routines while maintaining impeccable form.

The Significance of the Blackpool Dance Festival

The Blackpool Dance Festival holds a special place in the hearts of dancers worldwide. Its rich history and tradition make it a prestigious platform for showcasing talent and achieving recognition. For the winners of the Amateur Rising Star categories, this victory is not just a milestone but a stepping stone to greater achievements in their dance careers.

Competing at Blackpool provides dancers with invaluable experience and exposure. The festival’s rigorous judging standards and high level of competition push dancers to continuously improve and innovate. Winning at Blackpool is a testament to a dancer’s skill, dedication, and artistry.

The Future of Dance: What Lies Ahead for These Rising Stars

For Mark Chilcote and Madison Ingoldsby, and Sharif Mirhanov and Anna Dolgopolova, the future looks incredibly bright. Their victories at the Blackpool Dance Festival are a prelude to what promises to be illustrious careers in the world of dance. These rising stars have already achieved significant milestones, and their potential for further success is immense.

Mark and Madison are likely to continue dominating the Ballroom category, with their sights set on more international competitions and titles. Their unwavering commitment to their craft, coupled with their exceptional talent, positions them as strong contenders in future dance events.

Similarly, Sharif and Anna’s triumph in the Latin category sets the stage for even greater achievements. Their dynamic performances and technical prowess make them a force to be reckoned with in the competitive dance scene. As they continue to hone their skills and expand their repertoire, they are sure to leave an indelible mark on the world of Latin dance.

The Role of Coaches and Mentors

Behind every successful dance pair is a dedicated coach or mentor who plays a crucial role in their journey. The guidance, support, and expertise provided by these mentors are instrumental in shaping dancers into champions. For Mark and Madison, and Sharif and Anna, their coaches have been invaluable in refining their technique, enhancing their performance quality, and instilling in them the discipline required for success.

Coaches not only provide technical training but also offer emotional support and motivation. They help dancers navigate the challenges of competitive dance, from managing nerves before a performance to handling the pressures of competition. The strong bond between dancers and their coaches is a testament to the importance of mentorship in the world of dance.

The Impact of Dance on Personal Growth

Beyond the glitz and glamour of competitive dance, the discipline and dedication required for success have a profound impact on dancers’ personal growth. The rigorous training, perseverance, and commitment to excellence instill valuable life skills such as resilience, time management, and teamwork.

For Mark and Madison, and Sharif and Anna, their journey in dance has shaped them into disciplined, focused, and driven individuals. The lessons learned on the dance floor extend beyond competitions, influencing their personal and professional lives.

Celebrating Dance and Community

The Blackpool Dance Festival is more than just a competition; it is a celebration of the dance community. Dancers, coaches, and enthusiasts from around the world come together to share their passion for dance. The festival fosters a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect among participants, creating lasting friendships and connections.

For the winners of the Amateur Rising Star categories, the festival is an opportunity to connect with fellow dancers, learn from each other, and celebrate their achievements. The sense of community and support within the dance world is a source of inspiration and motivation for dancers at all levels.


The victories of Mark Chilcote and Madison Ingoldsby, and Sharif Mirhanov and Anna Dolgopolova at the Blackpool Dance Festival’s Amateur Rising Star categories are a testament to their exceptional talent, dedication, and hard work. Their achievements highlight the importance of quality training, mentorship, and a supportive dance community.

As these rising stars continue to shine on the dance floor, their journeys serve as an inspiration to aspiring dancers worldwide. The future of dance looks incredibly promising, with Mark, Madison, Sharif, and Anna leading the way. Their success stories remind us that with passion, perseverance, and the right support, anything is possible in the world of dance.

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