Charlotte dances 'the jive of her life' to win the Strictly Northampton 2018 trophy

Charlotte Sweet and her dance partner, Lee Whitestone
Charlotte Sweet and her dance partner, Lee Whitestone

Twenty-five year old Charlotte Sweet and her dance partner, Lee Whitestone scooped the glitterball trophy in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice at Strictly Northampton 2018.

The winning pair jived their way to success at the charity dance event at the Royal and Derngate theatre, Northampton, on Saturday night.

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Ms Sweet, who is a senior training and events co-ordinator, said: “I was so happy and surprised to get into the final all my nerves suddenly went away and I relaxed and danced my best jive in the final!”

Her dance partner, Lee, said: “She went out there and smashed it in the final!”

Charlotte said she had never danced ballroom before she started training at the Step By Step dance studio, Henry Street, but by the end of the experience she was rehearsing 10 -12 hours a week with Lee and her group of fellow dancers.

Lee said: “She knew what she wanted to get out of the competition and really made the most of the Strictly Experience.”

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

They and 23 other couples performed a jive, an American Smooth waltz and a group freestyle routine at the show that was organised by Step by Step Dance School, Northampton.

The six panto-themed group freestyle routines went down a storm with the packed audience who booed and cheered the contestants on in true panto style.

Former BBC1 Strictly Come Dancing dancer Robin Windsor and head judge of Strictly Northampton 2018, awarded group no. 6, 1st place in the group freestyle category.

The group’s winning Cinderella-themed dance also scored a perfect 10 with judges Joanne Mialkowski and Miss Earth England Abbey Anne Gyles-Brown.

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Starting off sedately, the group of dancers stunned the audience by suddenly breaking out into urban street dance, to the rapping of “Make it jingle,” by Big Freedia.

The event, funded by Chelton Brown Letting and Sales, was compered by ITV’s Breakfast show-Good Morning Britain weather presenter and former Duston Upper School pupil, Laura Tobin and Aaron Williams.

Contestants had to waltz and jive in front of the judges and audience, before performing group freestyle routines. A mixture of the judges’ scores and text voting put six couples through to the final round.

While the scores were added up, the audience was treated to a fabulous show dance by competitor dancers of Step by Step dance school and MAB Gymnastics Club to “The Greatest Show” theme tune. Dance director and event coordinator Andrzej Mialkowski made an appearance as “The Greatest Showman.”

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Six finalists then had to dance either a waltz or jive on stage before the judges awarded the top three prizes.

Second place went to Ben Griffiths and Stacy Trewin with Andrew Donald-Salmon and Jessica Box scooping up third place.

Tommy Gardner, of Cynthia Spencer Trust, made a speech thanking Strictly Northampton for helping raise so much money for their cause.

He said: “In the years Strictly Northampton has been fundraising for us, they have raised more than £160,000. This year Strictly Northampton 2018 is on target to reach £40,000. That means more people can get the specialist care they need in their homes.”

As well as the main trophy, a number of other awards were made on the evening, including one to the contestant who had raised most money for the charity. That went to contracts manager, Martin Nurrish who raised more than £2,512.

Andy Carmicheal received the award for the most improved dancer.

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

The evening began with a dance-off between children from Caroline Chisholm School and Abbeyfield primary school who were competing for the title of Dancing Schools UK.

Caroline Chisholm School was chosen as the overall winner.

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services

Picture: Paul Odams Profilm Services