Emma Wishart from Beeston will soon be waltzing across the famous floor of the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool in the arms of a professional dancer.
She has reached the final of Dance Floor Heroes, a national competition for ordinary people to get a bit of the Strictly experience. Originally conceived during the Covid lockdowns and targeted on NHS workers as a thank you, the competition now raises funds for the Tia’s Crown charity.
Tia stands for Therapy In Action and funds raised will support people with mental health problems receive dance therapy. Their strapline is “changing the world one cha cha at a time.”
Emma has always enjoyed dancing from self-taught Riverdance to freestyle classes at with Cynthia Coleman at the Plaza Club. When Strictly Come Dancing started she was hooked and signed up for ballroom and latin classes. But she hasn’t danced seriously for ten years.
She remembers watching her grandma dance with her twin sister at Burnamtofts Working Men’s Club. Emma asked what sort dancing that was and her grandma taught her the basic waltz box step over and over while everyone else waited for the bingo to start.
Emma’s old dance partner took part in Strictly NHS and encouraged Emma to apply for Dance Floor heroes.
“I filled in the form when I was feeling very low after my grandma died and thought no more about it” she explained.
She was invited to a regional heat at Leeds City Museum with scores of others. Over the course of a day they learned two dances and were interviewed.
She was then one of just 50 nationwide invited to submit a one-minute video. After a bit of a panic, Emma opted for clips of her singing badly, falling off a hoverboard, etc and called it Emma’s Got No talent. At each stage she expected to be rejected, but then she got the phone call saying she was one of the twelve finalists going to Blackpool – the judges clearly appreciated her sense of humour.
The producers have teamed her up with a professional dancer who she has been rehearsing with in Stockport. They also chose the dance – the Viennese Waltz and the song to dance to – Perfect by Ed Sheeran.
Not only does the waltz remind Emma of her grandma, but she’s since discovered it was also the favourite dance of her other grandma, who was originally from Vienna.
“It’s as if it was actually chosen for me. I’ll be thinking about both my grandmas, but especially my little grandma who taught me the steps all those years ago. I’m doing it for them definitely” she said.
“If I can do it justice, my goal is to make my family cry.”
The final takes place on Friday 24 February in Blackpool with a judging panel made up of professional dancers from Strictly. The show will be hosted by Shane Nolan.
The event is Tia Crown’s main fundraising activity and tickets are available at bit.ly/DFHtickets
Emma is fundraising for Tia’s Crown and you can support her by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emma-wishart6
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