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Carl Alan success for Dance Today contributors

Posted on September 29, 2014

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T093---copy-2wo of Dance Today‘s contributors – sequence writer Helen Blackburn and long-time photographer Ron Self – won Carl Alan awards in a ceremony that took place on Friday, September 26 at the Copthorne Hotel Effingham Park, Gatwick.

Ron Self and his wife, Sheila, won a Carl Alan for Contribution to Dance, while Helen Blackburn, with her husband, Steven Shaw (both pictured), won the Outstanding Classical Sequence Partnership Award.

Helen said: “When Steven and I met 17 years ago we could never have imagined we would achieve so much and create such a fabulous life together. Throughout those years we have met thousands of lovely people, dancers and professionals, sadly, a few are no longer with us, but they are never forgotten…

“Winning this award is a great honour and a privilege. It brings to a close a chapter in our lives that we will look back on with so many fond memories and today we formally announce our retirement from inventive dance competitions. We hope the next chapter of our lives will be just as amazing, whatever the future holds, and we will continue to meet many more lovely people.”

Ron Self said: “I’ve been taking pictures of the Carl Alan right from way back in 1952 when most of the royal family used to go to the awards when they were held at the Lyceum. I’ve photographed Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, Prince Michael, the Duke of Edinburgh, everyone barring the Queen… She can’t afford me,” he jokes.

 He adds: “A lot of people take dance pictures these days… but what they don’t always realise is you can only take good dance pictures if you’ve done it yourself and you are dancing in your head, because you have to work to the music, you have to know the timing…

 “We were very surprised to win – it’s important to remember that Sheila won it too. She helps out at the International at the Royal Albert Hall and does a lot of work in the background. It was a very nice surprise and we are very pleased.”

Other winners from the evening included Latin champion Sergey Surkov and his partner, Melia, who won an award for Outstanding Professionals; Marek Kosaty and Paulina Glazik, who won an award for Outstanding Amateurs; Bill Lau for Worldwide Dedication to Dance; Margaret Redmond who won an award for Outstanding Service to Dance; Monica Needham who won her Carl Alan for Lifetime Dedication to Dance; Audrey Singleton who won the Outstanding Contribution to Classical Sequence Award and Carl Alan organisers Michael Stylianos and Lorna Lee, who were surprised on the night by a Carl Alan Special Award.

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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