Salesforce Strictly – Competition Day
13th November 2018
I woke up on Thursday 8th November feeling nervous, this was the day. After weeks of practise, it all came down to this.
When I arrived at the Troxy, I was struck by the size of the venue, it’s huge. We did our auditions there so I had seen it before but now it felt different; enormous and scary. It really is a lovely place though. It was built in the 1930’s (so has a gorgeous art deco feel), survived the Blitz and is now a listed building. I dumped my stuff backstage and said hello to a few fellow dancers, who were all feeling a bit nervous. Before we knew it, we were soon running a few rehearsals of our group dance. Everyone seemed to remember it well and there was a buzz of excitement in the air, as the realisation of performing it to a crowd was setting in. After a couple of run-throughs, it was time to run through our couple’s routines in full costume. This was the first time we could see each other’s dances which brought a new wave of nervousness. Each couple were fantastic, good songs, lots of steps and some good characters and I just knew this was going to be an amazing night.
Before long, people were laying the tables with fancy decorations, there were couples cramming in practises in corridors and a pop-up beauty parlour (with ladies working frantically to do our hair and make-up) had appeared. When it was my turn to be “strictlified” I couldn’t have been more excited and I must say, my lady created absolute magic. There was not one hair out of place and I had been transformed by the power of make-up into a proper performer. I got dressed into my group dance outfit and snuck upstairs to say hello to some friends who were watching in the audience. I think that was the moment the real nerves started setting in, as it all became very real.
It was strange because I knew Paul and I had a good chance of doing well because half the points we would receive on the night were based on our fundraising totals and we had both managed to get full points for that. But the other half was down to our performance and judges scores, so nothing was guaranteed. People kept saying we had a good shot at winning which weirdly made me feel under more pressure because now it was almost expected. So into the corridor we went to run through our steps again and again.
Then it starts, the evening begins and we are all called backstage to perform our group dance. What was really great was hearing the cheers from the audience as we came out. The music was going and we were all dancing the best we had ever done; sharp movements, great timing and afterwards our teacher Michael agreed we had never looked so good. We went backstage saying we would love to do it all over again and everyone was pumped up and ready for the evening to begin.
Before I knew it, Paul and I were called backstage and were waiting to do our dance. We were just behind the curtain and could watch our introduction videos (which we hadn’t seen before) which is always a strange thing. You know that feeling when you hear your own voice recorded? Try that times 100 with a video and a giant screen! Michael was with us, ready to push us onstage when the music started and he turned to me and said he had never seen me so quiet. I felt overwhelmed, unsure whether to laugh, cry or be sick, then La Bamba blared through the speakers and it was show time!
I honestly can’t remember much about the next few minutes. I danced, tried to remember to breathe, kept a smile on my face and just went for it. I know we made a few mistakes, which was heartbreaking when you consider how many hours we had spent practising, but we both kept moving and managed to finish without falling over or a complete catastrophe. Then we headed over to Darren for the judge’s feedback. I was still a bit shell shocked and completely missed what the first judge said but was brought to my senses by a huge cheer from the audience, so I was hoping it was good. The second and third were positive and then it was time for the scores. 10! I thought I was going to cry. 10! A second 10! Then a 9…. Itching for that perfect score, we bargained to let Paul do his party trick of the worm and it worked. A third 10, making it a perfect score. I vaguely remember leaving the stage and hugging Nadio and various other people who had come over to congratulate me.
I went upstairs, hugged my friends and went backstage to await the final results. Meanwhile Spencer and Hannah performed a stunning Waltz and also received perfect scores (and they didn’t even have to do the worm!). Soon we were all back on the dance floor, lined up and waiting for the final results. They started with the “People’s Choice” which went to fellow Jivers, Warren and Kerry and I couldn’t have been more proud! The “Runner’s Up” award went to Spencer and Hannah which was thoroughly deserved and I suspect they may have won if fundraising had not of been considered. But as the end result meant the judges scores were combined with our fundraising points, this happened. James Collett was on stage and said “AND THE WINNER IS….”
I literally couldn’t believe it! I stood on stage trying to soak it all in and on reflection I don’t think I did. I remember thinking the trophy was surprisingly heavy and how on earth had I got here. I must say a huge thank you to Eddie for teaching me how to Jive, I literally couldn’t have done it without you!
Paul and I were then called to do a quick video interview about how we felt, I have no idea what I said, so that should be fun when it comes out. Then the party really started. It was a little strange for me though as I had no-one there I really knew. By this point my friends had left to catch the last trains home and at the moment I have no colleagues. For those who don’t know, I set up my own recruitment business in May which specialises in the wonderful world of Salesforce, so most days it’s just me in my spare room, a far cry from shimmying in front of a huge audience. On that note if you are looking to hire a Salesforce professional or are thinking about a new career move, please get in touch! I’m aware that’s a shameless plug but just imagine if I’m that good at dancing and fundraising, how good I must be at my actual job!
I’m so grateful that Nadio and James organised this event and allowed me to be part of it. It was such an amazing night and those memories will stay with me forever.
Thank you all for reading, I hope you have enjoyed my little blog series. An even bigger thank you to everyone who donated, as not only have you contributed to two fantastic charities, you genuinely helped me secure the win!
There will soon be official videos and photos of the evening, but until then, I have put together a little gallery of my journey. Enjoy and KEEEEEEEEEEP DANCING!