About Us

Black Velvet Dance

Black Velvet was created in June 2006 and found it’s first home at St. Oswald’s C E Primary School.  This class was aimed at absolute beginners and improvers, to give a basic grounding in Line Dance.  Since that first class in 2006, Black Velvet Dance has expanded greatly and now has both daytime and evening classes for all ability levels of Line Dance, plus the recent additon of West Coast Swing and Salsa classes.

Although we run classes in various dance styles, Black Velvet Dance still specialises in Line Dancing.  Many people want to Dance but feel they have poor co-ordination or no self confidence.  Line Dancing is an excellent way to learn the basics.  Line Dance uses many steps from Ballroom, Latin, Swing and Sequence Dancing as well as Pop, Street Dance and Hip-hop.  Surely something for everyone.

So if you want to learn to dance, or if you are already an experienced Dancer -  come along to a Black Velvet class.

All About Amiami-pink2

In the Summer of 1999 Ami attended a Line Dance class at a Holiday Park.  She learned two dances, Hillbilly Rock and Kung Fu Fighting.  She has never danced those two dances since.

Unwilling Beginnings

A few weeks after this Ami’s mother dragged her to a Wednesday night Line Dance Class in York.  She was an unwilling 14 year old and sulked all the way.  However, instead of the cowboy hats and country music she had been expecting, she found people of all ages and the music was a pleasant mix of old and new songs.  Instead of the blonde 50+ year old teacher she had imagined, a young 17 year old girl with amazing teaching skills.  Within half an hour of arriving at the class she was hooked.  She always had had a passion for Dance and enjoyed it more than she expected. As she was leaving after the beginners section, her instructor announced that she was about to demonstrate a routine for an upcoming competition.  It was the most amazing thing that Ami had ever seen. Surely this wasn’t Line Dancing? But it was, this was what Line Dancing could become.  At that moment she thought “I want to be able to dance like that… One day I might be as good as her.” Ami has never been able to achieve that goal. Her instructor was Rachael McEnaney.  Rachael performed that routine in Nashville a few weeks later and returned World Champion.

The Rise… & Fall

Over the following years Ami attended Rachael’s class every week and progressed onto Advanced dances.  She made friends with others her age and before long, she wanted to compete.  She danced in her first competition in 2003 at the Midland Masters.  She survived her heat and was placed 3rd overall in the final.  She went on to compete in the British Masters the following December and survived two heats to be placed 5th in the final. She decided to wait a while before competing again, but in February of 2005 she fell down the stairs at a house warming party and damaged the ligaments of her left ankle.  She was unable to walk for a fortnight and was unable to dance for two months.   It has never fully healed.

chaCompetition

In May 2006 Ami decided to compete again. She had private tutoring from Rachael, and had her routines choreographed for her. She attended the Midland Masters again in Stoke. She was placed 1st in all three dances and qualified for the British Masters one more time where she was placed 3rd.  Ami competed throughout 2008 this time Division 4 Novice.  She had a very successful year and was placed 1st in all 3 heats.  She qualified for the CWDC European championships in 2009 where she was placed 5th Overall.


Wild Ponies are born to run… and run… and run

Also during 2008, Ami’s own choreography “Wild Ponies” was chosen by Masters in Linedress as a Division 3 Intermediate competition Waltz.  This dance was also chosen by the CWDC (Country Western Dance Conucil) for the European Championship which Ami attended in 2009.  Masters in Line used the Waltz for a full competition year, including the World Masters in August 2009.  The dance was also chosen by the UCWDC (United Country Western Dance Council) as the Intermediate Waltz for it’s UK and USA competitions throughout 2009. It was used for the World Championships held in Nashville, USA in January of 2010.  Ami wasn’t too keen on the idea of dancing her own dance for competition so she waited until after the World Masters in August 2009 when the dance was changed for UK competitions held the following year.  Ami competed in Division 3 Intermediate division throughout 2010, winning several regional heats and placing 3rd in the CWDC Europeans.  In 2012, Ami chose to stop competing and began to train as a competition Judge with the CWDC.

The Student becomes The Teacher…

teach2As Rachael’s commitments increased, the Wednesday class suffered and was eventually brought to a close. Ami continued to attend Rachael’s Monday class where Rachael taught all levels, including an absolute beginner section.  Ami attended this session to help the new starters and to give them an extra person to follow.  Before long, Rachael had asked Ami to teach the beginner session for her when she was out of the country at Line Dance Events and as Ami’s confidence grew Rachael asked her to cover the class for the whole night.  Ami decided to start her own daytime classes, became a qualified Instructor with the CWDC and also regularly covered the class for Rachael when she worked abroad. This continued for several years until, in 2012, Rachael decided to move to the USA permanently and handed the class over to Ami full-time.

Ami got her first taste of West Coast Swing during those early Line Dance years, when Rachael regularly danced it at social nights with her current dance partner Paul McAdam. Ami recalls being shown a few moves during a Line class and attending her first ‘proper’ workshop at the 2006 British Masters with Paul Warden.  Shortly after that, she went to a 6-week WCS course held by Rachael and continued to dance it socially whenever the fancy took her.   It wasn’t until 2011 when, after failing to find a local WCS class, that she decided to start a WCS class in the York area.  Word of her classes quickly spread, and are attended by dancers of all ages, abilites and experience.

Ami began dancing Salsa in 2010, as a hobby, to have a ‘night off’ from teaching. She took to it quickly (years of Line Dancing had drilled a lot of the technique into her already) and soon got the urge to help others learn too.  After a few months of informally demonstrating, she was invited to assist Encuentro Latino at their Thursday evening Salsa Night in York.

“Any kind of Dance, anywhere, for any reason brings so much enjoyment to me I just want other people to try it too.  You never know, you might just enjoy it!”

Competition Achievments

2012 European Swing Masters - 2nd Place (Jack n Jill Novice)

2011 C.W.D.C. European Championship - 3rd Place (Division 3)

2010 C.W.D.C. East Coast Championship - 1st Place (Division 3)

2010 C.W.D.C. North East Championship - 1st Place (Division 3)

2010 C.W.D.C. White Rose Competition - 1st Place (Division 3)

2009 C.W.D.C. North West Championship - 1st Place (Division 3)

2009 C.W.D.C. East Coast Championship - 1st Place (Division 3)

2009 C.W.D.C. European Championship - 5th Place (Division 4)

2008 C.W.D.C. East Coast Championship - 1st Place (Division 4)

2008 C.W.D.C. North East Championship - 1st Place (Division 4)

2008 C.W.D.C. White Rose Competition - 1st Place (Division 4)

2006 British Masters - 3rd Place (Newcomer)

2006 Midland Masters - 1st Place (Newcomer)

2003 British Masters - 5th Place (Newcomer)

2003 Midland Masters - 3rd Place (Newcomer)