Strictly Training

Heather Brandon

Scottish Vice Champion in Ballroom and Latin dancing

 I feel like a Princess gliding across the floor in the waltz. The Tango makes me feel strong and fierce and the quickstep fills me full of energy. That’s one of the reasons I love ballroom dancing so much – there’s such a variety.

 Strictly Come Dancing has definitely inspired me. I used to watch it with my gran and although I’ve danced all my life, it’s only in the past eight years that I’ve taken up ballroom and now my partner and I are the second best in Scotland.

 I train 5 times a week for 1-2 hour sessions. My partner and I practice stimulated finals, which is five dances in a row with no breaks in between, which is much harder than it sounds. This helps build our fitness. We also have at least one session a week that focuses on improving our technique.

 I watch a lot of videos of world champions for inspiration, hints and tips, I like to learn from the best.

 I absolutely love competition time. The dresses, hair, make-up and all the glitz that comes with ballroom dancing. We work so hard in practice so it’s brilliant to have a stage to showcase our routines.

 Naturally I get nervous, but I just remind myself how much I enjoy dancing and that’s why I do it. My top tip for those who get nervous is to remind yourself how much you love to dance and how hard you’ve trained, then turn those nerves into positive energy when you dance.

 My stand out moments in my ballroom career so far are making the finals of the Intervarsity Dance Competition 2017 at the Winter Garden Ballroom in Blackpool. We were up against still competition and placed 5th and 3rd respectively. In the Scottish Closed Championships in 2016, my partner and I became vice champions for both Ballroom and Latin. It was such a proud moment, especially with my friends and family watching.

 The costumes are obviously an amazing part of ballroom dancing. My beautiful pink dress which is covered in Swarovski stones and sparkles on the dance floor, is my favourite. My gran (who sadly suffers from Alzheimers) gave me money towards it so it means a lot to me.

 My top tip for budding dancers is to never give up. Practice hard, focus on yourself and the results will come.

 Instagram: @heatherbrandon8