Cambridge triumphs at first competition of academic year

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

The Nottingham Varsity Ball was the first Inter-Varsity fixture for CUDT of the year, on Saturday 26th November 2016. After just six weeks of intense choreography learning and training, established couples, new partnerships and even those completely new to Dancesport would be tested against other universities. This year, the Nottingham competition was bigger than ever. Moved to a larger venue and with 22 other universities in attendance (including Oxford), it was to be a long and testing day for each of CUDT’s competitors.

Our day began in the early hours, at 5am, when, clad in team tracksuit and clutching pillows, we met our dance partners and team mates and boarded the two team coaches. However, the journey wasn’t exactly smooth. On the motorway, a flat tyre on one of the coaches stalled our journey. The beginners, who would be dancing earlier, managed swapped onto the bus with all four tyres intact so that they could get to the competition on time, as the beginner rounds start first. This left the more advanced dancers waiting at the side of the road for a replacement in the hope they would make it in time. Fortunately, the gamble paid off and everyone arrived at the venue in time to dance.

The day began with the Open events, where couples competed for individual titles. In the Ballroom section, Cambridge couples demonstrated the impressive breadth in our team line-up, with couples from all three teams making the final in virtually all categories. The intermediate ballroom final saw three Cambridge couples among seven finalists, including Tom Brown and Liane Dupont, who took 2nd place. In the advanced category, Salvatore Cardamone & Danielle Forster similarly were awarded the 2nd place trophy. In the afternoon, the beginners team went from strength to strength in the Latin competitions, dominating the Jive finals (three out of the five spots). In the advanced Latin, Andi Schanchner and Maria Fala came third, having only been dancing together for under two months. However, whereas in past years the Cambridge team have dominated the latin, this year the open results were less strong than in previous years.

As such, it was with slight trepidation that we came to the finale of the day: the team match. This is the most important part of the day, where universities directly compete against each other for the overall trophy. Following the format of the National Championship team match event, each university side was divided into teams of four couples, with each couple dancing one of the dances Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha and Jive. Being one of the largest (and most successful) Dancesport teams in the country, CUDT managed to field an impressive eleven teams. It had been a long, exhausting day, with mixed results in the open competitions. The Cambridge teams faced fierce competition in the team match, from Imperial and Durham in particular. However, in the team match, each and every dancer upped their game for the team. Cambridge D placed sixth, Cambridge B fourth, and Cambridge A once again took the top spot. Cambridge once again convincingly won the overall trophy and extended our undefeated run.

Two months on, CUDT have hit the ground running in preparation for our Lent term fixtures with winter dance camp. In the next month we will continue to face strong opposition from Imperial and Durham, as well as from the universities we have yet to face in full strength, such as Oxford, Cardiff and Southampton. However, we are confident that our dancers will rise to the challenge, continue to work hard and once again extend our winning streak.