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  • Ben Taylor

Monthly highlight: January 2020

Every industry has its important seasons and in the world of ballroom dancing, January is one of those big and important months in the dancing calendar. January 2020 turned out to be a very noteworthy month for us on many fronts, both personally and professionally.

As competitors, January really starts straight after Christmas where we get back on the dance floor after some quality time with our families. Eager to get started again after a short Christmas break, we prepare for many big events in the month ahead.

The very first event we without fail attend and look forward to is the “Preparation Camp” hosted by Tony & Amanda Dokman and Jonathan Crossley. We have attended this training camp ever since it started, and once again it was an inspiring and productive camp full of training. A huge highlight is the opportunity to train and practice to a live band – Ross Mitchell and his band and singers.

As a couple, we get motivated and inspired by competitions, and have learnt through the years how much we benefit from competing. Our plan was to attend all the big competitions in January: The Star Ball (making the semi-final of the professional ballroom) and The Universal (making the grand final) were the first two events we competed in with pleasing results.

After 3 weeks of intense training and preparation, we finally travelled to Bournemouth with a car full of dresses, shoes, and everything needed for the days of competitions ahead. The first major competition of the year – and we were competing twice: in the Professional Ballroom Rising Stars and the Professional Ballroom events. Two important and prestigious events, back-to-back on consecutive days. We were ready and we were excited.

The Rising Stars event is a long day consisting of no less than five rounds with couples entered from every corner of the globe. The first four rounds had gone well, and we were awaiting confirmation if we had made it through to the prestigious grand final. The answer was yes!!

We then had the honour to be introduced onto the competition floor by walking down the famous blue stairs with the tunes from the live band. This is certainly a moment not every dancer gets to experience, and we will always keep this close to our hearts.

As with most Rising Star events, the marks are close and varied. We received everything from a first place to a sixth place and ended up in the final position of 6th in the final. Walking back to our hotel room in the cold, dark January night, we were happy with our dance development and eager to compete again the next morning – just hours later.

In the main event – The Professional Ballroom – we finished in 31st place only a few marks away from the quarter final. This is our best result at the UK Open as professionals to date, and concluded a successful “first major competition of the year”.

However, this was not the end of our competitions in January - we had another great competition awaiting us in beautiful Milan, Italy, just two days later. It was our first time competing at the Milan Grand Ball, and we thoroughly enjoyed it making the quarter-final. Little did we know at the time, that this would be our last competition for a long time as the pandemic hit only weeks later. It also was our last trip abroad– something rather significant as we tend to travel frequently as dancers.

Having competed in no less than 5 events in 10 days, we travelled home from Milan achy, tired and happy. January had been a busy month doing what we love the most – dancing and competing. Now we could focus on our wedding in February as a lot of preparation was still needed.

The many comps in January 2020 not only marks the last season of competitions and travel before the pandemic, but also the last time we entered competitions as Mr Ben Taylor & Miss Stefanie Bossen. It was the end of an era, but what a fabulous one! We are excited to see, how the era of Ben & Stefanie Taylor will form.

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