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The IVDC has been held annually since 1960 and is the national competition for university dancers. The event has grown rapidly in recent years and in 2015, over 700 couples entered for the open events. University societies bid to host the event and for its first 45 years the event moved around the country. In 2005, it was held for the first time at Blackpool’s historic Winter Gardens, the home of competitive ballroom dance in the UK. Every IVDC since 2007 has been held here, with Cambridge hosting the 2005 and 2015 events.
Like most university competitions, the morning and afternoon sessions consist of open competitions at levels from beginner to advanced. The standard of competition is high and the winners of the 2012 Advanced Ballroom went onto win the British National Amateur Championship in the same year. The evening session contains the highlight of the day, the team match, in which teams of four couples represent their universities. In the period 2007 – 2017, Cambridge University have won the overall team trophy on 9 occasions.
The first Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity Match in ballroom dance was held in 1973 and since then, the event has been held annually, the hosts alternating between the two universities. The event is unique to the university dancesport circuit as all couples in the team need to dance Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and Jive. (In other events, each couple on the team dances one of the dances.) Cambridge have won the Varsity match seven times in the period 2007 – 2015 and the Challenge Shield (B team match) eight times in this period.
The Varsity Match is viewed by the universities as a competition to rival the nationals in its prestige and both universities award Blues to dancers in the event. The 2015 match saw the first award of a Full Blue to a Cambridge man, thirteen years after the first Cambridge woman received a Full Blue, meaning both sexes from both universities have now been awarded Full Blues for representing their university at this event.
|Year||Varsity Match||Challenge Match|
The universities of the south of England and Wales, (traditionally, those south of Coventry) compete at the annual SUDC, known by some as the regionals and for many the final competition preparation for the university nationals. Universities bid to host the SUDC and so the event moves around the South; Cambridge last hosted in 2010. The SUDC sees the first appearance of the Offbeat competition, a team showdance style competition. A feature of the SUDC is that each university can only enter 4 teams in the team match event.
The Sheffield Social has been held annually since the mid-1980s and, on all but three of these years, has been held in the Octagon Hall at Sheffield University. Over the years, the Sheffield Social has seen many British Open and World Champions demonstrating and judging at the event; legendary names of ballroom dance such as Marcus & Karen Hilton, Stephen & Lindsey Hillier, Sammy Stopford and Barbara McColl and Bryan Watson & Karen Hardy have all demonstrated and/or judged at this event. A unique feature of the Sheffield Social is the team knockout event, in which universities compete in a one against one knockout competition until only one team remains. This competition creates a tremendous atmosphere!
In the 1980s the White Rose Competition, an open circuit competition held at Nottingham University, started to hold a university team match as a highlight of the evening’s proceedings. As the number of student couples participating increased significantly, the whole event eventually became an intervarsity competition. The event, which is usually held at the end of November or beginning of December, regularly sees more than 10 universities competing.
Warwick University have hosted an annual competition since the late 1990s, first hosting at Wicksteed Park in Kettering and then moving to the historic Tower Ballroom in Birmingham. Traditionally the first intervarsity competition of the academic year, the event regularly sees more than 10 universities participating. A particular feature of the day is The Warwick Challenge; in the early years this was a basic four dance couples competition but in recent years has become a team match in dances other than the traditional team dances of Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and jive.
The first CUDT Reunion Match (Old Team New Team) was held in Wolfson College in 1998. In the early days, the Reunion Match took the form of a series of one dance competitions in the team dances of Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and Jive only, with couples from the current team scoring points against a team of alumni couples. The Old Team won the inaugral match. Since then, the friendly competition has expanded and last year over 50 couples competed in the event, with the team match changing shape to echo the format of the IVDC team match and teams being formed to encourage alumni, current team members and beginners to meet.