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'The Stars' In Their Eyes
At Sadlers Wells Theatre
By Nikki & Pete
Well, another adventure for us, with the lovely DOREEN WALKER, co-principle, along with her daughter Lyndsay, of Stevenage Dance Group, 'Dance For Fun'.
Doreen had invited us to SADLERS WELLS THEATRE in London, for the latest Mardis Gras production, 'The Stars' In Their Eyes', featuring dancing schools and groups from all over the UK, including Stevenage's own Dance For Fun...
We have been along to see several Mardis Gras productions at various venues, and for Pete, especially, this was something special, as his schoolfriend DOREEN WELLS had studied at Sadlers Wells before moving on to THE ROYAL BALLET and International fame.
Oddly enough, although Pete supported Doreen right from the beginning, and his own best mate Ballet dancer Extraordinaire, JONATHAN HARTNELL (who sadly died of a car accident in 1954 at the tender age of 17 years) - he never went to see Doreen perform at Sadlers Wells.
SO THIS, INDEED, WAS SPECIAL FOR HIM.
BUT ON TO THE SHOW!
As ever, the show was superb, with presenter NIC GREENSHIELDS doing a great job introducing the acts, who put on a memorable show...
Unfortunately, rules mean that we cannot bring you pictures of this great evening out, - but as you can see from the photographs here on this page, we had a great evening, - along with Doreen Walker (pictured above with Nikki) who decided to watch from the auditorium.
WELL DONE TO EVERYONE!
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TONIGHT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD NIGHT...
and it was!
It's always a pleasure for Pete & Nikki to be invited to a 'Dance For Fun' event, - and this was no exception...
'Tonight's Going to be a Good Night' was the latest show by Doreen Walker's Dancing School to be put on at The Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage, on Sunday 28th October, - and a good night it was too!
There was something for everybody, - from a Bumble Bee Dance with children dressed as bumble bees and flowers, to 'Shrek' to 'The Wizard of Oz'.
Nikki was in tears of delight at the little ones in 'The Smurfs', whilst Pete went all nostalgic as children, dressed as refugees, danced to Vera Lynn's 'Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye', complete with gas mask bags. (Pete was evacuated to Scotland during World War II)
Then again, memories came flooding back for Pete as dancers performed their version of Eartha Kitt's 'Old Fashioned Girl' - a record that was often requested on Pete's 1950s Radio Show, 'After The Bull' at RAF Ruislip.
As usual, the show was spectacularly colourful and full of life, with ages ranging from tiny tots to teenagers and older lady dancers.
Compere Steve Beirne was in fine fettle, cracking jokes between routines, and invited The Mayor and Mayoress of Stevenage, Councillors John and Joan Lloyd, on to the stage for a few words, and to present Joan with a bouquet of flowers.
Like Doreen, Pete has known John and Joan for many many years.
(That's John on the right).
Then Steve invited Pete and Nikki on to the stage, (see picture bottom left) where Nikki was also presented with a lovely bouquet of flowers, and Pete said a few words about 'Dance For Fun', Doreen Walker and Lyndsey, and also saying a few words of praise for the dancers and routines, and also praising the back-room people who provide the costumes and accessories for each show.
Pete also commented on the last show, 'In that round place in London' as he put it. 'Piccadilly Circus?' Steve Quipped. Then a member of the audience called out 'The Royal Albert Hall'.
'That's the one,' Pete quipped, 'Not Henry Hall, - the Royal Albert Hall!'
The feature about the MARDIS GRAS is below, in case you'd like to re-read it.
The latest news is that two of Doreen and Lyndsay's students are appearing in the pantomime ROBIN HOOD at the Gordon Craig this year, SO DON'T MISS THAT!
Now Pete and Nikki are looking forward to attending yet another high-profile appearance by Stevenage's top dancing school, - at Sadler's Wells Theatre in the new year.
Coincidentally, that is where Pete's old school friend from Walthamstow, Doreen Wells (now The Marchioness of Londonderry) began her career, finishing up as Prima Ballerina for the Royal Ballet in the 1960s, taking over from Dame Margot Fonteyn.
(See picture on the right of Doreen with dancing partner).
THIS WILL BE INTERESTING, SO WATCH OUT FOR THE FEATURE - IN 2013.
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Nikki & Pete join
THE CHAMPIONS OF DANCE at THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Our intrepid couple travelled with mums, dads and other relatives, to The Royal Albert Hall on 29th April 2012, for The Olympics Mardis Gras at The Royal Albert Hall,
This invitational event saw 25 schools staging a tribute to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and included Stevenage's own DANCE FOR FUN dancers, who performed at Nikki & Pete's wedding in April 2009 at Knebworth House.
Every routine was assembled with an Olympic theme, but of course, true to form, for our intrepid couple, there was an unexpected adventure on the way...
The coach had just left Stevenage, and was passing Knebworth House (coincidentally!) when there was a loud BANG right below Nikki's seat!
Upon further investigation by the driver, it was discovered that the kerbside rear tyre had blown!
Honestly now, you couldn't make this up, could you?
It proves Pete's philosophy that real life makes it's own adventures!
The passengers were not happy, but to our intrepid couple, this was just another adventure!
Fortunately, Terry, the event organiser, had the phone number of the boss of the coach firm, so he called him to explain the problem, whilst the driver cruised the vehicle onto the hard shoulder.
Twenty minutes later, another coach arrived, and all the passengers were transferred on to that vehicle (see picture on the left).
Now the driver had to make up for lost time, - but he didn't break the speed limit!
They finally arrived at the Royal Albert Hall with only five minutes to spare before the start of the show!
They didn't even have time to get a programme, - but had to take their seats as soon as they arrived, - but it was certainly more than worth while.
All in all, there were twenty dance schools from all over the country taking part, and what a show they put on!
The theme was, of course, The London Olympics, and there were some incredible costumes and props, as well as some amazing and spectacular dance routines.
Nikki & Pete were there to support everyone of course, but had been invited along as special guests by DANCE FOR FUN, whom Pete & Nikki have supported for many years. Having said that, all the schools put on a great performance, which, at times, was quite breathtaking.
The host for the evening was NIC GREENSHIELDS, (below, left) who, himself, had appeared in the first MARDIS GRAS as a dancer back in 1998, with his fellow dancers from the dancing school of which he was a member.
Nic was a superb, confident presenter, with just the right amount of wit and charm to hold the entire show together.
Also appearing was LAUREN LETTS (pictured right) 16-year-old vocalist from Clacton-on-Sea, who was accompanied on stage by her dancers.
Lauren has been singing and dancing since she was five years old, and attends Dance & Musical Theatre classes at Stagestruck Academy in Frinton-on-Sea.
Of course, because they had arrived with just five minutes to spare, our Adventurers hadn't had time to get themselves a programme.
When they did so however, during the intermission, they were surprised to see a picture of Pete on the back of the programme, with a caption which read: 'Pete Perry is in the audience tonight to cheer us all on. He is a celebrated author of children's books including 'Tales of Widgeripoo' and 'The Secret of Bedside Manor'. You may recognise him from the Harry Potter films, in which he plays a Ministery wizard. Pete's friend, Ann Elizabeth Packer is a British born sprinter , hurdler and long jumper who won gold in 800 meteres at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo'.
Well, there's a surprise, - and it explained why people kept coming up to him in the intermission asking for autographs!
BUT! The whole evening belonged to the dancers and the dancing schools which gave their time to put on this fabulous show.
The co-priciple of 'Dance For Fun' Doreen Walker, (pictured here between Nikki and a friend and on her own with a presentation cup) was full of emotion, as each dancer, as well as she and her daughter Lindsay, were presented with cups and medals for their part in the show.
THE FINALE WAS NOTHING LESS THAN SPECTACULAR, WITH ALL THE DANCERS GATHERED TOGETHER ON THE VAST STAGE AREA TO DO A 'DANCE OF THE HANDS' (See picture at the top of this feature)
Remember, you can enlarge all images by clicking on the bottom left-hand corner of the photograph.
MARIS GRAS is sponsored by
HATS OFF TO 'DANCE FOR FUN' AND ALL WHO TOOK PART.
Catch up with MARDIS GRAS by clicking
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PETE, NIKKI AND SOME MUSICIAN FRIENDS ARE ABOUT TO GET TOGETHER WITH DANCE FOR FUN ORGANISERS DOREEN AND LYNDSEY TO PRODUCE PETE'S CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS MUSICAL, CAROL & THE CHRISTMAS TOYS.
If anyone wants to help in any way, contact Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org
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