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The Cambridge University Dancesport Team

CUDT retains the title of National Champions

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

After an unbeaten run earlier this term in Sheffield and Cardiff, CUDT travelled to Blackpool on Saturday 25th February to take part in the 55th Inter-Varsity Dance Competition (IVDC) – the National Championship of the student dancesport circuit, which boasts more than 1000 competitors. We arrived again as defending champions, and amid some very tough competition, came away with the title for the sixth consecutive year.

As usual, the morning began with the Ballroom opens section, where couples compete for individual titles at various different levels: Beginners, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Same Sex and Ex-Student. Our dancers achieved a number of excellent results across many of these events: Scott Novak & Maddi Morelli-Batters came 2nd in both the Beginners Waltz and Beginners Quickstep, while Igor Yakunin & Georgia Wright came 4th in the Beginners Quickstep. Izaak Jephson & Ekaterina Zabolotnaya came 2nd in Novice Ballroom, followed by Wilhelm Hüttenes & Marta Tomaselli in 7th place. Yet it was the Intermediate Ballroom that proved the most successful CUDT event of the day, featuring three Cambridge couples in the final: Tom Brown & Liane Dupont in 2nd place, Lindley Lentati & Nina Friedrich in 4th place, and Niklas Steenfatt & Emily Burbidge in 5th place. To top things off, despite having been ruled ineligible to compete as current students because of a controversial interpretation of the constitution, Salvatore Cardamone & Danielle Forster secured an impressive victory in the Ex-Student Ballroom category.

The Latin opens section included similar Cambridge successes: Harry Burke & Ellie Pring came 3rd in Beginners Cha and 4th in Beginners Jive, joined by Scott Novak & Maddi Morelli-Batters (5th) in the Cha  and Ashmer Bohmer & Laura Weston (5th) and Geoff Ma & Dani Moura Santos (7th) in the Jive. Philipp Verpoort & Caitlin Duschenes placed 3rd in Intermediate Latin, followed by Tom Brown & Liane Dupont in 6th, while Cambridge had 2 representatives in the Advanced Latin final: Andreas Schachner & Maria Fala in 5th, and Kenneith Yong & Anna Peng in 6th. Salvatore Cardamone & Danielle Forster also came 4th in Ex-Student Latin, alongside some CUDT alumni: last year’s Captain, Kien Trinh, won with his partner Kirsty Davies, while last year’s Vice-Captain, Chi-Hé Elder came 3rd with her partner Luke White.

After watching these open events, we knew the Team Match in the evening was going to be a tough fight. However, the team rallied and achieved some incredible results. All six Cambridge teams (A-F) made the quarter final (top 24); our A-D teams all placed in the top 10; and for the first time since 2014, our A-C teams all made it to the Team Match final. This success across all the teams is a testament to CUDT’s strength in depth: by comparison, only 2 other universities had 2 or more teams in the top 25. In the final itself, our A Team fought off tough competition from our biggest rivals to win 1st place, followed by Imperial A, Oxford A, Cambridge B, Bristol A, London A and Cambridge C. Once more, we came away with the best A, B, C, D, E, F and Overall Trophies – the team’s 6th consecutive National victory, and our 16th since the competition began in 1963. We also retained the Best Beginners’ Team Trophy, by winning the Beginners Quickstep, Cha and Jive, and finishing 2nd in the Beginners’ Waltz.

All of this could not have been achieved without the hard work of our dancers, coaches, and committee members – a big thank to all those who contributed to our success! And a special congratulations must allow go to Paul Walker, one of our coaches, who received an award from the organisers for his dedication and commitment to our team and the University circuit as a whole.

With this victory behind us, CUDT now looks forward to its final events of the year – a tour to China for 4 of our couples in March, and the Varsity Match against Oxford on May 6th.