The 2020 Intervarsity Dancesport Competition took place on the 22nd of February, almost six months ago now. Compared to the dreary, monotonous days of lockdown, memories of Nationals seem like a dream. CUDT had an incredibly successful day, following two terms of incredibly hard work.
Starting off with ballroom, we had couples in the finals across the board. In the beginner’s category, Yuxin Li and Maz Yessen placed 3rd, and Shaun Vickers and Grace Copeland placed 4th in the Waltz, whilst Kasia Pendlebury and Rachel Thulborn placed 3rd in Quickstep. Cambridge was also proud to put forward the winning couples in both the Pre-Inter (Timothy Tsang and Chloe Sullivan) and Intermediate (Tom Durrant and Sarah Ursel) categories. Rob Price and Daphne Chia placed 6th in the Intermediate category, and I’m sure they’re looking forward to dancing in the Advanced category next year.
One of our two 2019/2020 co-captains, Maddi Morelli-Batters, and her partner Markus Korbel, waltzed into the Advanced final and placed 6th, earning themselves half-blues* in the process. We also saw three of our couples make the semi-finals of the Same-Sex category, which becomes increasingly competitive each year.
The afternoon went on to bring just as much success. Yuxin and Maz, Shaun and Grace, and Kasia and Rachel all made it to the final of the Beginner’s Cha. Indeed, Cambridge was awarded the best Beginner’s Cha team at the competition. We had finalists in the Pre-Inter (Stuart Knowles and Kate Mackay), the Intermediate (Lawrence Alexander and Lara Weaver), and the Same-Sex (Grace Palfreman and Helen Brooks, Nat Elks and Isobel Marchant) categories. In addition, we had not one but two couples in the Advanced final (Sam Rowe and Inna Kaptcan, Alex Ivanov and Annie Dalchanina). The latter two couples have been awarded half-blues* as a result of their amazing achievement.
For the majority of those at the competition, the most anticipated event of the day is the Team Match. However, I think we can all agree that what happened immediately before was equally as exciting. Tessa Teo and Annie Dalchanina surprised everyone with their amazing entrance into the Intermediate Salsa competition. They danced fantastically, much to the delight of the whole team, and ended up placing 5th.
Then there was the team match. Cambridge was defending its title as the nine-time consecutive overall National champions, so we were all incredibly nervous. However, following some pep talks from our ever-supportive coaches, and a huge amount of team encouragement, all 48 dancers in the team match absolutely smashed it. All of Cambridge’s six teams, that’s as many as any other uni put forward, made it into Division 1 and placed in the top quarter of all of the teams that entered. Cambridge A-D teams all made it into the semi final of Division 1. For perspective, no other university got a C team into the semi-final, let alone a D team. The second-highest scoring D team from another university placed below our F team. We went on to maintain our title as overall champions, and our A team placed 3rd.
Nationals this year was a fantastic day, but not just in terms of the medals that we were able to take home. As always, the team spirit of the Cambridge team was lively, supportive, and loving. When one couple did well, we all did well, and when a couple didn’t make the rounds that they deserved, we all felt it too. The Nationals trophy belongs to all of us, and we should all be proud of it.
IVDC existed in a country unaffected by COVID, and surely none of us could have predicted that this is where we would be sitting six months on. Nonetheless, even in these ‘uncertain times’ we all hope to be able to get back to dance soon. I know I can’t wait to see everyone at training again.
Written by Kate Mackay, CUDT Publicity Officer 2020-2021
*With the annual Varsity Match against Oxford cancelled this year due to COVID-19, the usual criteria for half-blues could not be met. The University’s Blues Committees agreed to award discretionary half-blues to the couples who placed in the Advanced finals at IVDC.