So here I am in Lanzarote, enjoying some recovery time with my Mummy Wendy, and finally I think I can structure some thoughts about the epicness that was Crystal Blues Challenge – 2016!

Anyone who was there will already know that the competition aspect of this competition weekend is only one small part of it.

Who wins and who doesn’t isn’t what defines the event – or the dancers there. Those who won were incredible, and congratulations to each of you. What a treat it was for us all to see what you do so well. And, to every single person who mustered every ounce of their courage to take part and to every single person who turned up to support and to cheer and to enjoy – I salute you all. There are more ways than one to be a winner, you proved that.

Because this isn’t about individual tribes turning up to ‘beat’ each other at all costs. This is a mighty celebration of us as ONE tribe. Blues-loving Brothers and Sisters. Dancers united with a common aim. The aim of uniting, of encouraging, of welcoming, of supporting, of enjoying and of sharing.

Our winners were so gracious in victory. But the graciousness of everyone there – competitor, supporter, winner or otherwise, was a joy to behold and a testament to the love we all have for this dance that we do.

My inbox is full of messages from people saying a very similar thing…

“If I knew one thing about myself before I came to Crystal Blues, it was that I don’t ‘do’ competitions. I don’t compete. So how did I end up putting myself forward over and again? How did I find myself out on that dance floor putting myself through something I would never have dreamt myself capable of? And thoroughly enjoying the experience… Wow!”

When I stand on the stage looking out at everyone there, I am often aware of a tiny part of the journey of each person and sometimes my heart just wants to burst with the magnitude of the achievement of each person putting themselves out there!

Why do they do it?

Because you, all of you, create a safe, supportive and encouraging environment that allows them to take a risk and know that they will be caught safe in the arms of your collective support and love. I don’t have the words, but suffice to say – the Blues Tribe at Crystal Blues this weekend was a living embodiment of a hope long-held for me.

My gratitude and appreciation of that bunch of amazing people that I am lucky enough to have in my team is off the scale. Everyone of you went above and beyond and delivered all that was asked of you and more. A particular highlight for me was the ‘Team Bow’ at the end – geez I love you guys!! There isn’t anything you’re not up for!!

So please, accept from me my thanks, my gratitude and my love – for making Crystal Blues an event that we should ALL be very, very proud of…
I look forward to seeing you there in 2017…