First UK dance competition since last year takes place in Notts

Organisers of an amateur dance competition in Sutton-in-Ashfield say they’ve gone “above and beyond” to host the event and make sure it complies with coronavirus rules.

The MLA Open Titles (run under British Dance Council rules) has been taking place at the Grosvenor Rooms in Church Street throughout the day (Sunday, June 27).

Organised by MLA Dance Promotions, there has been a strict cap on the capacity and various Covid measures have been in place.

Scott Blant-Harwood, Covid officer for the venue, said he’d also spent hours making sure the event was safe and legal.

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He said: “We have to have 100 square ft per person throughout the duration of the event, we have 143 square ft per person. I have put over 40 hours into the event to make sure that it’s legal and safe.

“We have gone above and beyond for this, you are more at risk in the local pub having a meal than you are at this event.”

Though the organisers haven’t been able to get local authority approval, Mr Blant-Harwood said they didn’t have to do so as long as the relevant Government guidance for organised events was being adhered to.

Inside the Grosvenor Rooms in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Inside the Grosvenor Rooms in Sutton-in-Ashfield.
(Image: Scott Blant-Harwood)

He said: “The event is running under Covid-safe rules, it’s running under the grassroots and sports guidance from the Government’s own website.”

He said two community protection officers and one police officer came to review the measures in place.

But Mr Blant-Harwood said they were “more than happy for the event to continue”.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police confirmed there’d been a routine check at the venue, and said that everything was in order upon the inspection.

Three sections make up the event – one for under 12s, the second for under 16s and the third for adults.

Mr Blant-Harwood said: “At any one session the most people in is 56. It’s grassroots, there are no professionals taking part – the only professionals [at the event] are the adjudicators, who are here in a work capacity.”

People have had to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before arriving at the venue.

Mr Blant-Harwood said: “All spectators are socially distanced and table seating. There’s no shouting, no cheering allowed. And a maximum of six teams competing at any one time.

“They’re a couple, so six couples. The couple counts as a team in sports guidance.”

Marcus Hilton MBE, chairman and president of the British Dance Council, said: “The British Dance Council does not object to this event going ahead, providing it meets all Government and local authority recommendations.

“This is the first dance competition that will have gone ahead in the United Kingdom since March 2020.”

The board of directors was given a presentation by the venue owner about the Covid measures in place.

“They did a very good job,” added Mr Hilton.

Advice on the Government website clarifies indoor sport is exempt from gathering limits for adults and children where it is formally organised.

It states: “Organised indoor sport must adhere to the relevant capacity restrictions for indoor sports facilities including allowing a minimum of 100sqft per person for all people in the venue.

“This applies to organised indoor (individual and team) sports, indoor exercise classes and organised sports participation events.”


Nottinghamshire Live – Local News