Griffiths dancing her way to top of ballroom
A Bermudian resident has taken home high honours at an international ballroom dancing competition.
Fran Griffiths competed last week at the 36th Atlanta Open, winning a gold medal in the Bronze-level American Smooth 3-dance competition.
She said: “I’ve been working very hard for 2½ years at ballroom, so this was thrilling.”
Ms Griffiths said she had always been involved in dance, but only turned to ballroom after a meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.
She said: “I went out to eat and I was sat at the bar when I started talking to this couple who were visiting from Florida.
“We ended up having dinner together and I started telling them about my late husband, Geoff, and started crying.
“The guy looked at me and asked if he could make a suggestion. He told me to take up ballroom dancing and that it would help me to get my joy back.”
Ms Griffiths said she took the stranger’s advice, booked a class the following day and quickly fell in love with the discipline.
She added: “Now, looking back, I think he was an angel sent to me. There was a reason for that meeting. It was not an accident.”
She took part in a competition in North Carolina last year, winning in the newcomer category, but she said her dance instructor urged her to test her skills in a larger competition.
That competition came last week in Atlanta.
Ms Griffiths took part in a gruelling two days of competition, tackling smooth dances such as the waltz on one day and Latin dances such as the bolero the next day.
She said: “My make-up call was at 5.40am and I started dancing at 9am. It goes on all day, so it’s quite something.”
Ms Griffiths said she was stunned to win in the American Smooth category.
She said: “They were counting down the final seven, and when they got to two my teacher held my hand.
“I thought it was him being sweet, consoling me. What he was trying to say was that I got it.
“I couldn’t believe it.”
The competition also gave Ms Griffiths the opportunity to meet the stranger who first turned her on to ballroom dancing — Sarwat Kaluby, who she discovered was one of the organisers of the event.
She added that she is now looking forward to testing her mettle in silver and gold-level competitions.
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