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Heelwork to Music in the UK

Friday 6th of  March 2020 The HEELWORK TO MUSIC FINAL













Day two of judging at Crufts – decided to wear a skirt and heels – would I be able to walk across the hallowed “Astro” turf in those – well yes, I did and it felt great to dress up and respect being invited to take part in this great occasion. I met my fellow judges, Pamela Ruscoe and Dawn Hill again backstage of the Main Arena – competitors were dressing, warming themselves and their dogs up, gathering themselves together in order to show the results of a year’s very hard work not only those in the audience, but to those all over the world as this event was live streamed via YouTube.


Once again, there were ten competitors in this final, those who had been placed in the Top Ten at the Semi Final held way back in January 2020, so this would be their final performances at Crufts of those very special routines.



















First to take centre stage was Cathy Bates with her very young Border Collie, Sarkam Twinkle Toes - Twinkle. Cathy wore a delightful, finely pleated dress which flowed beautifully when she moved working to “I Dreamed A Dream” by Patti Lupon. Twinkle managed a very creditable routine with Cathy using very gentle verbal cues along with carefully choreographed dance movements. 
They performed a good balance of heel work positions with very timely pivots interpreting the music. 



















Next into the ring was Michelle Dodson with her Border Collie Kinaway Doctor Foster – Devon. Devon is a beautiful red and white dog, very attentive of Michelle’s every move as they worked to “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. Michelle wore a fabulous costume, very fitting for this music with nothing to detract any attention away from her dog. The music was slow but this team managed to include a good variety of heelwork positions and some freestyle moves to incorporate the prop of “the moon”.



















Our next competitor was Christina Oxtoby with her Border Collie Legacy’s Heaven Sent Shai. Using the music “FEVER” by Michael Buble, Christina showed great musicality and a good range of heelwork positions performed by Shai, incorporating many directions of work with a number of Freestyle poses marking the music really well.



















Anne Shuker was next to perform with her Crossbreed Freckle Frenzy to the music “Confrontation” by the Cast of Jekyll and Hyde. A clever costume worn by Anne showing a very definite split personality – on one side Jekyll was kind and movements were soft and on turning she became the mysterious and disturbing Mr Hyde. Freckle worked so well with both very different personalities, covering a wide range of heelwork positions which is expected at this level of working at Crufts.

















Lucy Heath with her Border Collie Stillmoor Winter Sun was the next pairing into the ring. Taking on a routine they had choreographed to a mix from Grease – the audience were captivated as they worked at speed through the four minute routine. Lucy covered every speed though, reducing to very slow in places matching the music perfectly and managing to maintain control giving the dog good accuracy.


















The Freestyle Winning Team from Thursday was next into the Main Arena. Nicci Hindson with her Border Collie Comebyanawy Wildest Dream approached their starting point still smiling from yesterday’s success! Nicci and Elsa worked to the music “Another Day Of Sun” from the Cast of La La Land. This fast piece of music moved from being in a car Jam to dancing free of any worries. Good use of change of sped, and many heelwork positions included with a variation of direction well choreographed into a routine covering most of the available space.

















Next into the Arena was the previous Crufts Winning Team, Lucy Creek and Border Collie, Harriot Skiffle King. Lucy and Skiffle were one of the few teams incorporating props and Lucy had quite a few to assist with the Musical Interpretation of “Mission Impossible”. Props included “Security Laser Beams”, a Chair and a Top Secret Bag! Skiffle worked very well in this huge arena quickly responding to Lucy’s verbal commands – she very rarely gave him any eye contact but Skiffle had his eyes firmly fixed on Lucy in order not to miss anything she said or did. Congratulations on a worthy 2 place.




















Carole Dodson, another competitor from yesterday’s Freestyle Final entered the ring next, with her second Crufts Finalist dog Borderdance Dream Legend from Kinaway. They had chosen the music Dream Chasers by Future World Music – this music is both epic and majestic and held everyone’s attention in the Area as Carole and Legend used many heelwork positions, in different directions and paces to re-enact the music.
























Caroline Garrett and her Border Collie Wildsea Phoenix of Fire were next to walk into the massive arena. Caroline, looking demure, very simply dressed in black with a flowing red heavily fringed scarf, and Fawkes very eager to get going and with full focus on Caroline they worked to “Rodrigo” by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Another dog who worked from pure verbal or very subtly dance cues from Caroline and as near a perfect performance that I’ve ever seen. Caroline covered the ground with no effort but managed to include all the heelwork positions, different speeds and made this a very interesting captivating performance. Caroline was very pleased with Fawkes and they were today’s very worthy winners and an absolute pleasure to judge! 



















The last competitor in the class was Pamela Sullivan with her crossbreed Bandaitch Mack the Knife. They had chosen to perform to “Malaguena” – a fabulous Spanish number with Pamela suitable attired in a circular skirted dress which was used to emphasise the music and movement. Pamela’s musical interpretation was fabulous and with such a large dog, the covered the arena with grace and entertained the massive crowd. Pamela and Mackie were placed 3 today. Well done.




The Heelwork To Music Competition was a superb high standard and a real privilege to judge.
Crufts 2020 HTM finals
Judges
Kath Hardman, Pamela Ruscoe and Dawn Hill
Photographs courtesy of Richard Moss
Furtography
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