Rowans Hospice: Hopeful contestants hope to salsa their way into Strictly Come Dancing style competition

ORGANISERS of an inaugural dance competition have been left ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of entries they have received.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:12 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 2:13 pm
Rowans Does Strictly (l-r)Jayne Trace, Stacey Easterwood, Professional dance teachers David from Keal School of Dancing and Beverly from Scarlett Rose School of Dancing, Meri Sabadera and Mary Barker.

Rowans Hospice launched its Strictly Come Dancing-inspired contest to raise money for its Silver Jubilee Appeal and more than 120 people applied in the hope to become the next Anton du Beke or Oti Mabuse.

The applicants have now been whittled down to the final 40 – made up couples and individuals – who will all take to the stage on Tuesday night for the audition stage before the final 15 couples are chosen for the first Rowans Does Strictly event.

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Fundraising events officer Debbie Pick said: ‘We were so overwhelmed by how many people applied because this is the first time we have run this competition and we weren’t sure what the response would be.

‘It was so difficult to decide between everyone but we looked at why people wanted to do it and their connection with the hospice, what they had done for us before and how they were going to fundraise for us this time as it is £500 which is a big achievement for one person.’

The auditions will see the prospective contestants put through their paces by professionals from Keal School of Dancing and Scarlett Rose School of Dancing.

For the 15 couples chosen, they will have 14 weeks to train and perfect the dance style chosen for them, including the Foxtrot, the Cha Cha and the American Smooth, before the live show takes place on May 2 at The Pyramids in Southsea.

Debbie said: ‘It has taken a lot to organise the event but everyone who has been involved has been amazing. We have kept it very similar to the TV show because it is not broke so we were not going to fix it.

‘I think it is going to be a really fun way to raise money for our appeal and tickets for the audience for the live show will go on sale soon. I think the room fits about 500 people in it so that will make for a really good atmosphere.

‘We also have some special guest judges to announce, the first of whom will be revealed on Tuesday, so that is really exciting.’

The money raised will go towards the Silver Jubilee Appeal which is aiming to raise £7.5m to renovate its facilities in Purbrook.

The 25th anniversary appeal has so far raised upwards of £500,000 and the first phase of the refurbishment began in July last year to modernise the in-patient ward.