After a successful domestic season, Cambridge University Dancesport Team has extended its winning streak abroad with an international victory in China last weekend. The team was invited to send four of its top couples to compete in the first ever China Ballroom Dance Federation International Academy Team Match, competing against five other universities from the US and Asia: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, National Taiwan University and Stanford University. Against some talented competition and in the face of some serious jet lag, CUDT secured the title with an impressive display.
The team match, which took place on the evening of Friday 24th March, was modelled on the Blackpool International Team Match: each of our couples competed against one representative of all the other teams in three dances – Waltz, Tango, Quickstep for Ballroom; and Cha, Rumba, Jive for Latin.
The judging panel at the event included some of the most prestigious names in the world of international dancesport. For the team match itself, the panel comprised Maurizio Vescovo (Italy), Heiko Kleibrink (Germany) and Vladislav Borodinov (Russia), all former national or international professional champions.
After the opening ceremony, in which each team paraded onto the floor and the team leaders exchanged gifts as a sign of friendship, the team match began with the Waltz, in which CUDT immediately asserted its dominance. Ballroom couples Bence Börcsök & Rachel Cummings and Salvatore Cardamone & Danielle Forster came away with the highest score of the whole evening – 12 points.
This dominance continued into the Cha, where Latin couples Andreas Schachner & Maria Fala and Kenneith Yong & Anna Peng also won with a score of 11.5. And the story remained the same for most of the competition, until the final dance, the Jive, in which the team was narrowly beaten by the local Tsinghua University by half a point. Yet by winning five out of the six dances, the overall result was a convincing victory for Cambridge, with the following final scores:
|University of Cambridge||12||11.5||11.5||11.5||11.5||11||69|
|National Taiwan University||10||10||10.5||11.5||11||10.5||63.5|
After the results were announced, team Captain Tom Nelson was presented with a trophy and led his team on a lap of honour around the stadium, before being joined by all the other University teams in the centre for a final round of applause from the audience. Before heading back to our hotel, we also managed to enjoy exciting demonstrations from some of the world’s very best couples: Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova in Ballroom, and Stefano Di Filippo and Daria Chesnokova in Latin.
Yet this was not the end of Cambridge’s competitive successes. All four of our couples also performed well in the individual Open Competitions the next day (Saturday 25th), making the finals of their respective disciplines. Salvatore Cardamone & Danielle Forster won the Ballroom event, followed by Bence Börcsök & Rachel Cummings in 2nd place, while Kenneith Yong & Anna Peng came 2nd in the Latin, and Andreas Schachner & Maria Fala 6th. These results provided a fitting conclusion to the team’s performance in China, and we enjoyed getting to know the other teams better at the dinner and salsa party that evening.
CUDT would like to thank the China Ballroom Dance Federation for inviting us to their competition, and especially Jasmine Dong for helping to sort all our arrangements. The event was very smoothly run and the hospitality on display was exceptional. We especially appreciated the local sightseeing arranged for us on Sunday 26th, including a visit to the Great Wall of China, a stop-off at a traditional tea house with a calligraphy workshop and visits to two professional dance schools in the city. We are very grateful to have had this opportunity and would like to wish the Federation all the best in its future endeavours.
After this international success, the team’s attention turns back to its one remaining competition of the academic year – the Varsity Match against Oxford on Saturday 6th May, which we are hosting at the University Sports Centre. We will be training hard over the coming months to try to finish the year unbeaten!
If you would like to watch the team’s performance in China, a recording of the team match is currently available online here (starting after about 87 minutes).