Judging DERT 2007

When asked to be a judge at this year's DERT I felt very honoured but also petrified, knowing the standard of the sides that would be taking part, how hard they would have worked and how seriously they take the event.

The day of the competition was quite frantic – scribbling down notes on one team's performance just in time for the next team to start theirs, whilst trying to cram in mouthfuls of takeaway pizza at the same time. But we were helped enormously by having a minder to look after the practicalities, and also by the excellent organisation of the tours which enabled almost all the teams to arrive on time at the Moot Hall for their performances.

It was a real challenge to distinguish the brilliant dances from the merely very good ones, especially for someone whose primary involvement in rapper over the last 20 years has always been as a musician rather than a dancer. All the same, despite rapper being quite a specialised dance form, we saw a tremendous variety of styles and interpretations in the competition - in the dancing, the music and the characters.

For me the highlight of the weekend was the showcase performance on Saturday evening. It gave me the chance to see some of the teams I hadn't had the opportunity to judge during the day. In my opinion this was when the sides performed at their very best, with the chance to let their hair down and enjoy themselves amongst friends.

P.S. I still have the fake 20 note from the “Royal Bank of Penguin” which was given to me to grease my palm at the Moot Hall. It's no wonder the Bank of England has introduced a new version of the 20 note to prevent such forgeries.

Alistair Bloomfield