From KERRY RIBCHESTER
CONGRATULATIONS & THANK YOU to Cressida Childs on the outragoeus success of her Pontins Dance weekenders , that started a revolution here in the UK. Really sad to hear this past weekend was the last one. Cressida Childs has played a huge role in bringing our UK dance community together. She show cased so many new teachers and performers, and lead the way for all the Salsa promoters to develop the rich and diverse scene we have today. Salsa , Jive, lindy-hop, Brazilian dance; every dance style came into the melting pot. I was there at the beginning at the very first one in Mine-head, and it was a very exciting time to become involved in the emerging scene.
It wasn’t all fun at times. When she asked me to be artistic director for the first Cuban Pontins, it was war ;we literally had hate mail on certain dance sites. They said that no Salsa dancers wanted a Cuban only dance weekender, and that no-one would turn up. (That was one of the politest comments). I managed to secure visas for two Cuban artists to travel from Cuba and Germany , Harold Williams came form Cuba, the atmosphere was electric and we had 800 in attendance. It was a hit ! Big time ! We showed them !
I am sure like me, many of you have sweet memories of the events; cooking in the chalets, beach parties, making life long friends, being inspired by many world class teachers, musicians, backed up by a mad crew, and wild DJ’S and Rohan Brown and James comparing. We were the A Teams at that time !
We danced, taught, partied till the early hours, and the backstage antics.. well what happened at Pontins …, stays at Pontins. What will remain with us is all the joy and fun we had and the life long connection and friendships we made.
Raise your glasses of Havana club everyone to Cressida and her team, and all the teachers and performers that danced the boards ! Too many to mention !
Thanks to her we have a thriving Dance weekender community in the UK. !
That last Pontins (Packefiel) ever was an event to remember, thank you everyone for an amazingly fun event.
Amazing artists and gorgeous people to party with
Thank you Cressida Childs and your team for such amazing memories. I am very grateful to have been to so many of them and had a great time and met so many friends and enjoyed the beginning of my professional career. Thank u thank u thank u x
Thanks cressida is always a good memory of pontis and great fun pleasure working for you and enjoy dancing with our uk people.
Fabulous weekend. Nice to have worked on so many events with so many lovely,talented people. Such a shame it’s come to an end. If Cressida runs any more events I for one will be at the front of the queue to offer my services.
Cressida’s move into event organisation was not planned – it was more a wish to share her dance passion! She wanted to take her students on a dance break and arranged the use of a small ballroom at Butlins in Minehead. With the minimum of publicity somehow word got out around the country of this event, and to her amazement people started asking to join! This was 1997. The weekend was great fun and included Salsa, Lambada, Leroc and Cajun. Cressida met Kerry Ribchester for the 1st time (1 of the teachers) here.
Based on the good time everyone had Cressida approached Pontins at Brean Sands to see if they were interested in sponsoring a larger event. Fortunately they were and the 1st “Pontins” took place in 1998. Each event doubled in size of the last reaching around 2000 dancers!
At the height of their success Club Cubana was offering 5 weekends a year at Pontins centres aromd the country: Brean Sands, Blackpool, Southport, Pakefield, Prestatyn and Camber Sands! Pontins gave the platform for a huge aray of today’s household names – there were no other weekender (or congresses) at all! Some “A” listers were not even teachers then!
Following from Pontins after around 6 events, other promoters used the model created by Cressida to start organising their own weekenders.
The term “Congress” was coined, which is the same as a “weekender”! Nevertheless Cressida has a huge amount of respect the in the Salsa world and her event is renowned for its ultra friendly atmosphere and Salsa family inclusivemess! She has organised more weekenders than any other UK promoter, ending on the 61st “Pontins”!
Sadly the last Pontins dance weekender took place 19th-22nd June 2015. We all had a great time over the years and many friendships made, plus all the memories of fun times!
Who has taught at Pontins (work in progress)
Fadi, Marosh & Kristina, Robert Charlemagne, Phil Langlais, Angelique Sinclair, Fritha Fallon, Jim , Marcus Groves, Tracey Gooch, James Perez, Osbanis, Leon Rose, Sagi Iluz, Kerry Ribchester, Misael Cordoba, Mambata Dance Co., Lee Hunter, Ela Peck, Susana Montero, Supermario, Rohan Brown, Ignite Dance Company, Mel Carpenter, Richard Harris, Damo, Miguel Monteiero & Marlene, Miguel & Mayana, Nigel May, Moe Flex, Lisa Anscomb, Mauricio, Irene Miguel, Lee Knights, Karen Salsa Roja, Ian Finch, George Donoghue, Nicolai V., Frank Santos, Rbert & Jean White, Rob Lewis, Neelam Suman, Sami Salsa, Dean G & Rebecca, Christian Jean-Francois, Becky Howe, Anothony Lee & Trisha, Angus Peters, Jools Clarke, Carlito, Etian, Noel Hernandez & Katy Squirrell, Yainer, Cesar Paceco, Jeff Tarpinian & Alison Roberts, Daniel Bowman,
Seaon Stylist, Angel Ortiz, Rosanna Rivera, Brian Van de Kurst, Patrick Mussendyke, Patricia Rezendez, Vivienne Vicente & Ronald Pieters, Manoah & Femke Bernabela