Topline has long been a supporter of the Isle of Man Dance Festival and this year sponsored two events during the weekend-long competition. We were also asked to run a stall from the Villa Marina, in Douglas, by promoter Ellis Killey which proved difficult but not impossible!
Topline directors Nick and Al were also dancing in the competitions which meant swapping retailing attire for dancing gladrags and briefly drafting in a minder for the stall on Saturday.
And of course, it was a great delight to dance in the ballroom at the Villa. It’s ornate surroundings making competiting there feel such a privilage and Al found herself literally following in her father’s footsteps as her parents, themselves competitive dancers, trod the same boards many years before.
There were fantastic demos on both days: on Saturday from Topline Ambassadors Mark and Olga Elsbury who delighted the audience from their ‘celebrity’ fanfare (loved the ‘fans’ who ran on to take photos of Mark before their foxtrot) to the final footsteps of their five dances.
Sunday saw leading amateur Latin couple Ryan McShane and Ksenia Zsikhotska thrill the audience with their glittering performance including a theatrical take on the jive which was far from the ‘car crash’ it was based on.
Officials and competitors were also invited to a Mayoral reception at Douglas Borough’s Town Hall prior to the start of the event and it was a pleasure to meet the Mayor, Councillor David Ashford and Lady Mayoress Sylvia Ashford who told us recent highlights on the island and the history of the council.
They also graced us with their presence during the finals on Sunday and stayed to award prizes to the competitors – what great ambassadors for the Isle of Man!
It was lovely to see many of our Manx friends who been great supporters of Topline and who we see at many of the key festivals on the mainland every year.
A couple of days either side of the festival also allowed a little time for sight-seeing and pleasure – spotting seals bobbing in the sea around the Sound, a visit to the tearooms at historic Cragneash, strolls along the Harris Promenade in Douglas and a sterling performance by the Rushen Silver Band in the Villa precincts towards the end of our stay.
It was fitting to end our trip on a high note!