The final event of the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts’ 113th Year, The Dance Championship, took place on two consecutive weekends in November at Guiseley Theatre.

As has become usual, performers arrived not just from the Yorkshire area but from places as far flung as Glasgow, Nottingham, Stoke and Lancashire. Parents arrived having booked weekend accommodation for their families, giving the whole festival a holiday atmosphere.

Over the two weekends there was a variety of classes featuring individuals, pairs, trios and groups performing Classical, Tap, Character, Cabaret and Greek at different ages with an especially lovely Kinder Class for the under five age group.

The undoubted highlight of the weekends was the Yorkshire heat of the national Miss Dance of Great Britain competition. Entries had to be closed at 40, leaving a waiting list of those wanting to fill unexpected spaces.

This competition, which has been running for decades, offers a large financial award at the final in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool in June and an opportunity to advance a professional career in dancing, so it always attracts a great deal of interest. The winner this year, who will represent WFPA in the final, was Emily Barnard from Hartlepool with Emily Vincent of Sherburn in Elmet as runner-up.

Adjudicator Vicki Durning of IDTA said that she had really enjoyed seeing the connection and communication between the children when dancing, and that it was good to see their involvement. She added that she had found the festival to be very well organised with a high standard of work, all taking place in such a friendly atmosphere created by the teachers and organisers.

Championship Coordinator Ivy Wailes and her team, meanwhile, would like to thank everyone who helped make it such a success. They would especially like to mention those outside the main committee who gave their time so freely during the festival, and the gallant chaps of the Ilkley Round Table who came to help load and unload cars on the preparation evenings.

Report by Pat Dibb, General Secretary, WFPA


Kinder Class: Ruby Ferris

Class A: Grace Butler; Class B: Kessia Rose Hadfield Walker; Class C: Charlotte Murdock; Class D: Jessica Wood

Junior Novice: Eve Cooper; Senior Novice: Shauna Coates

Junior Impromptu: Alexa Drakes; Senior Impromptu: Panashe Madhlambudzi

Duet: Kessia Rose Hadfield Walker and Alice Forde; Trio: Maisie Shearing, Olivia Ainsty and Gracie Lou-Brooks


Nikki Ellen Trophy: Jessica Wood

Isadora Trophy: Alice Forde

Cynthia Carr Trophy: CC Dance Company A

Jack Sharp Trophy: Jessica Wood

Horsforth Junior Group Trophy: Arabesque Dance and Theatre Academy

Horsforth Trophy: Kessia Rose Hadfield Walker

Endeavour Trophy: Olivia Prenga


Dennis Sharp Bursary: Ruby Drakes; Mrs Anne Howells Bursary: Isha Kaur Athwal; Wharfedale Festival Bursary: Minnie Squance

Miss Dance of Great Britain Heat

Winner: Emily Barnard, Second: Emily Vincent