As 2014 comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on what a huge year it’s been for StreetSalsa – we’ve hosted 275 events, at nearly 20 different venues, and welcomed over a 1000 different people through our doors.
But it wouldn’t have been possible, without the awesome characters that make StreetSalsa what it is today. The team, full and free members who make it so much more than just a dance class – namely, a community!
So join us as we celebrate some of those personalities, in the StreetSalsa Personality of the Year Awards 2014… It would be impossible to recognise everyone’s achievements, but here goes in an attempt to recognise some of our biggest personalities…
Rising Star Award
This award goes to a member who is relatively new to the scene, but in a short space of time has become a very valuable member of the community and embodies everything that StreetSalsa is about.
And the Nominations are: Yolanda Fernandez, Kamila Kubiak, Siobhan Atkinson, Claudia Maclean, Jonathon Carter-Hume, Vairis Klavins, Rowena Skinner, Priyanka Tailor.
And the winner is… Claudia Maclean! Although all our nominees deserve this award, Claudia stands out for embodying everything StreetSalsa is about. She was the first one on the floor and the last one to leave at nearly every event since she joined!
Most Improved Dancer
We’ve seen some truly astounding gains made by our members, often in a remarkably short length of time. This award goes to the dancer that we feel has made the most improvements in their own dancing in 2014.
And the Nominations are: Lee Richardson, Yolanda Fernandez, Jason Archdale, Allison Marsay, Dan Browne, Andy Hunt, Andrew Holmes, Emma Nunney, Elliot Chinnock, Amy Brassington, Amy Robinson, Vairis Klavins, Karen McQuire.
And the winner is… Elliot Chinnock! After starting as an absolute beginner at the beginning of the year, Elliot has thrown himself into nearly 80 events. I know it was a massive personal achievement for Elliot to tackle the lifts and dips class, and that’s not to mention winning StreetSalsa Come Dancing 2014 with his partner Amy Robinson, and with the support of Donna – taking his first few classes as a teacher. Well done fella!
Dance Captain of the Year
The Dance Captains of StreetSalsa are the unsung heroes of our community. They’re a friendly face for new visitors, ready to jump into any role at a moment’s notice. They are a voice for our groups at the leadership meetings, and help our team members develop in their roles.
And the Nominations are: Carla Purkis, Panagiotis Mech, James Fenwick, Ania Pyrkosz, Donna Farey.
And the winner is… Ania Pyrkosz! As she has for many years, in 2014 Ania has been an absolute star in the Dance Captain role. Leading the charge into Wakefield was tough, with no neighbouring groups to offer support. But Ania pulled her team together and got stuck in. Before taking over another tough role at Chilli White in June. Since then, she has transformed Chilli White into an event that more new beginners stick at, than any event we have ever run. A massive thanks Ania, your hard work does not go unnoticed!
DJ of the Year
The DJ role is a tough gig, you need a thick skin and to take criticism before you enter into this one – everyone has an opinion! It’s like being a goal keeper, you’re very unlikely to get a pat on the back but if something goes wrong you’ll be the first one to hear about it… Not to mention you have to be locked away in your box for the whole game!
And the Nominations are: Donna Farey, Richard Ruff, Jason Archdale, Lee Richardson.
And the winner is… Jason Archdale! Another winner from our Chilli White group – no surprise, Friday nights are a tough gig in the salsa world. Jason has worked tirelessly since he took over at Chilli White in June. Tackling everything from Hip Hop to House, and Salsa to Swing. Other than his great tunes, which have a loyal following on a Friday, of special note is the role Jason takes in making his group a success as a whole – his drive and passion is carried through to much more than just his work behind the decks.
Promo of the Year
Another fundamentally important role in the StreetSalsa team, is that of Promo. On the surface of things it’s just signing people in – but the role serves a far more important purpose. And that’s getting to know your members and welcoming new people – after all, you’re the first port of call for our visitors who may be nervous and unsure of themselves. It’s another thankless role that keeps you busy all evening!
And the Nominations are: Allison Marsay, Elliot Chinnock, Erika Valicka, Gaynor Secker, Kamila Kubiak, Jonathan Carter-Hume, Jack Lennon, Andrew Holmes.
And the winner is… Gaynor Secker! For her tireless work as Promo throughout 2014, Gaynor deserves this award and more. Not only has she turned up week after week, but the results speak for themselves. Friday has the best record for keeping new people, and that’s in no small part down to Gaynor and her charming personality. Thanks Gaynor!
Lead Teacher of the Year
Whether it’s teaching the basic steps, or putting together a tricky pattern, the lead teacher role is a great opportunity for developing your own dancing and teaching style. It’s surprisingly energy-consuming job, and takes real commitment to deliver week after week.
And the Nominations are: Elliot Chinnock, Lee Richardson, Donna Farey, Jason Archdale.
And the winner is… Lee Richardson! Although it’s still early days for Lee as a teacher, he’s really thrown himself into the role and has a hard-core following of devotees who love his creative patterns and wicked sense of humour. Here’s to a great year of Lee’s classes in 2015.
Follow Teacher of the Year
It can be difficult to get a word in edgeways between a lead teacher’s fussy ramblings, but oh so important that our follows receive the same great level of instruction. Not to mention spinning on demand in front of a room full of people! So the follow teacher role is a tough gig, and hats off to all the follows who have stepped up for us this year.
And the Nominations are: Allison Marsay, Anna Andreou, Donna Farey, Emma Nunney, Hannah Mawhinney, Jess Snaith and Sophie Threlfall.
And the winner is… Allison Marsay! Any of our follow teachers could have taken this award, for the masses of hard work they’ve put in throughout the year. But the award goes to Allison, because not only has she grabbed the teaching role by both hands at both Beginner and Salsa+ levels, but she’s also brought shines and styling to the table like no other, and has seen a real improvement in her dancing too. Such a success story!
StreetSalsa Come Dancing 2014
The deserved winners of this year’s StreetSalsa Come Dancing were Elliot Chinnock and Amy Robinson, two rising stars in StreetSalsa. Showing an amazing versatility, these two rose to every challenge the competition threw at them, and that’s no small feat – with everything from Merengue to Bachata, and Salsa to Swing, to contend with!
Our runners up also deserve a mention too – well done Billy, Veronica, Claudia and Mel and John. Billy was so hot to handle he needed two partners! And those lifts Mel and John, well what can I say?!
Outstanding Achievement Award
You only have to look at the nominations this year to realise why the person that wins this award needs a special mention. At some stage, she’s done every single role within the company – picking up four award nominations along the way.
One of those people who does things not for praise, but because she just loves dance and her friends, she’s a true unsung hero. She’s taught packed classes, smashed it behind the decks, taught lead and follow, and worked tirelessly at HiFi to make sure that new people are welcomed with open arms…
Donna Farey, please take a bow! You’re a star and we all love you!
StreetSalsa Personality of the Year 2014
Ok, it’s the big one! The StreetSalsa Personality of the Year Award 2014.
This award goes to the person we feel embodies everything that StreetSalsa is all about – fun, friendly, committed and a real team player who has made an immeasurable contribution to the community in 2014.
A real cornerstone of the community, who’s at nearly every event we put on – dancing until they kick us out. A tough one to decide this one!
And the Nominations are: Hannah Mawhinney, Lee Richardson, Richard Ruff, Donna Farey, Elliot Chinnock, Emma Nunney, Jason Archdale, Allison Marsay, Andy Hunt, Andrew Holmes, Dan Browne, and Colin Sowka.
And the winner is… Lee Richardson! With a simply incredible 163 events under his belt, there could only be one winner. This guy is a lean, mean, salsa machine. An outstanding lead, with bags of charisma – I think you’ll have to get up pretty early in the morning next year to prevent him taking the title again.
This guy simply lives and breathes dancing, eat, sleep, salsa repeat is his motto. I just want to say on behalf of everyone, thanks for being the cornerstone of our community!
Now the big one is out of the way, time for something entirely more light-hearted…
Best Dressed Woman
With her love of all things vintage and stylish ink, this award simply has to go to one Allison Marsay!
Best Dressed Man
From spider-man to super-suave, there was only ever one winner of this one – well done Mr Elliot Chinnock! Although, with such sharp suits, Colin Sowka definitely gets a special mention in this one.
Most Miles as a Taxi Driver
In terms of mileage, no one can compare the taxi driving efforts of Head DJ Richard Ruff. Thanks to you for making sure everyone gets home safe!
Secret Spinner Award
This award goes to Kanchan Thorat, an outstanding spinner who just loves to spin! But she kept it quiet until we spotted it recently at Chilli White. Damn you can spin Kanchan!
Most Dramatic Hair Cut
This one has to go to Mr Lee Richardson. The day he walked in with his new ‘do’, nobody even recognised him. But it’s good to see your face mate, loving the new cut!
Party Animal of the Year
Well there are certainly a few contenders for this one! But I think the winner takes this hands down, it’s got to go to the one and only Nina Achilles. Mexican Screwdriver anyone?