Welcome to the team!
We'd like to introduce you to the DJs, judges and team members that work together to bring you the unique experience that is the Crystal Blues Challenge...
Crystal Blues is a transparent and clear competition, and we choose our judges from dancers respected and experienced in the Modern Blues world - they will be looking at technique, style, musicality and aesthetics, among others!
Each of our judges has been hand picked to bring their experience, impartiality and wisdom to the competition.
Hev is a lady who just loves to dance. Doesn't matter what style it is - she's there! Watching Hev on the dance floor is a real joy. She brings a whole heap of fun, enthusiasm and energy to everything she does. Hev is a previous winner of the Crystal Blues 'Ultimate Challenge’ among other things, and is one of the more recent additions to our judging team.
We're very happy to welcome back Tor to our judging team again this year. Tor is a fabulous female lead who dances with a strong emphasis on the fundamentals of both musical and lead/follow connection. Tor has won a large number of crystals in her time and is looking forward to being involved with all that is special about Crystal Blues again this year.
Rob is a social dancer held in very high regard on the dance scene up and down the country. He is a generous and giving dancer who epitomizes the mantra 'Give Good Dance'. Influenced by Blues, WCS, Tango and MJ, Rob believes passionately in core connection - through the lead, through the follow and with intense musical interpretation.
Sungy is one of the most beautiful of Blues dancers, and has been a Crystal Blues judge from the very beginning, joining us again for the seventh year. Sungy has a wealth of experience in dance - graceful, elegant, sassy and playful, her dancing is inspirational to all of us who follow.
Paul has a fabulous way of bringing the best out of all of his partners, regardless of ability, and making everyone he dances with feel very special. Fusing Tango with elements of Modern Jive and Blues, Paul will be looking for substance as well as connection and musicality.
One of the joys of Crystal Blues is that it's all about the dance. And that means it's all about the music. Our DJs have years of experience in bringing you the very best in Modern Blues tunes to stretch and challenge our competitors, as well as bringing you wonderfully danceable tunes for the lashings of freestyle threaded through and around the competitions.
Morris, aka Revdrop, is our longest serving DJ (other than Sara herself). He is known throughout the modern-blues and expressive circuit as a DJ who likes to stretch people and push boundaries in their dancing. Morris has been responsible for finding the most challenging tracks in the modern-blues/modern-jive world for the ‘Ultimate Challenge’ category in our Crystal Blues competition ever since the category started. Year after year, after months of searching, he somehow manages to find the unique tracks needed which audiences love to listen to and dancers enjoy dancing to (though sometimes retrospectively!). Some call Morris evil... but he’s a sort-of-vicar! He also loves ice-climbing and other dangerous pursuits, so that makes him a bit out of the ordinary really?! A bit like his music?!... and, errr... his dancing?...which if you’ve experienced, you will know what we mean?!
Graham is a man who wears THE most colourful trousers (blame the golf!) and another regular on the Crystal Blues DJ team. He has a wealth of DJ experience from main room modern jive through to expressive music but best of all he loves modern blues, leaning towards the rockier end of the spectrum. Graham selects and refines his choices for the weekend's music while dog-walking, listening to his ipod and sniffing out the best tracks and discarding the wuff ones. He loves putting dancers through their paces and is great fun to have on the team, with a streak of mischief too, so entrants for the 'Best of Luck' category - watch out!
John comes to us all the way from the south coast. He is no stranger to the Crystal Blues competitions, this being his sixth Crystal Blues Challenge weekend. John is well known for his expressive blues sets in the southern area and from DJ sets at a variety of venues and dance weekends. John has played at previous Crystal Blues and Blues Retreat weekenders, and for him the Crystal Blues Challenge is the highlight of the year.
Horace is really excited to be a DJ at his first Crystal Blues Challenge. He has been DJing for 10 years at various independent dance venues and weekenders and this year joined the BluesNites DJ team. Having heard so much about Crystal Blues he is looking forward to soaking up the bluesy atmosphere, playing us some great music and getting on the dance floor too. “Can't wait!” says Horace.
Alex is known for his collection of fresh and funky blues tracks and will delight you on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Alex has been dancing for what seems like forever, is a fabulous smooth lead and has a real passion for his music. We asked for more information for his biography but he said he'd rather his music did the talking...
Tor will be both DJing and judging at Crystal Blues this year. Well known for her dancing and teaching, she is no stranger to the decks either. Tor's music varies from ballads to gritty blues and all manner of wonders in between.
Our newest DJ is Miss T - playing a debut set for Crystal Blues. No stranger to a decent tune, having been an avid dancer at events up and down the country, Miss T has a musical style that’s straight up, feel-good expressive. She knows what you want and will give it to you by the blues bucket load so don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself dancing!
We call him DJ de Beer, 'cos he's a real diamond! Alan knows how to rock a kilt and rock out some great tunes. This year he's graduated to the main room to play some of the blues gems that he's found. He's really looking forward to DJing... and dancing with the wide variety of dancers that come from all over the country to the Crystal Blues Challenge.
Front of House/ Back Office Team
These are the folk who make sure everything runs like clockwork and everyone gets to be where they should be, when they should be there. And if we gave out crystals for smiles I reckon these guys would bag the lot!
Debbie Barton, Rachel Pennifold, Laura Roach, Zareh Langridge and Tim Hodgson will be there all weekend to welcome and encourage you and to organise all of the finer details that make an event like CBC a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone, whether you're a competitor or a visitor. And Tim and Clare Khan will be co-ordinating the competition organisation.
Completely unflappable and ever-jolly, this team is second to none!
The Crystal Ladies
The fabulous Crystal Ladies are responsible for making sure the audience voting goes smoothly and efficiently - distributing crystals before a challenge round and then collecting them in their snazzy coloured buckets to register YOUR vote. And all this, while looking gorgeous and smiling all the way. This year Di Warren and Mollie Clulow will be bringing their extra special warmth and glamour to Crystal Blues again.
Not a lot of people know that they are also always looking for ways to make sure the event goes smoothly..whether that's helping out in the kitchen or making sure that the little things that matter get..done.
Mollie and Di will be assisted this year by Sarah and Teo, cos that's a lot of buckets for just two people!...
An event like Crystal Blues needs top class catering. Niari and Tass White will be teaming up again to prepare and deliver lots of tasty treats and snacks for you on both Saturday and Sunday. The Butternut Squash soup and Lemon Tart will most definitely be making it back on to this years menu so no need to panic!
There will be breakfast, lunch and afternoon treats available and obviously plenty of tea and coffee too. The girls did an incredible job last year - even pulling out some cool dance moves in the kitchen while they were at it...