CUDT compete as part of the university Dancesport circuit, attending between 4 and 7 external competitions each year. Competing is the driving force for our squad, and our beginners will get their first taste of competitive Dancesport only a few weeks into their first term. While our two main competitions are Nationals (IVDC) in February, and Varsity against Oxford in May, we attend a number of competitions of different scales throughout the year.
The Cambridge vs Oxford Varsity Match: May
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 all four of Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and Jive. Although the 2020 event was postponed, Cambridge have won the Varsity match for 10 consecutive years.
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.
The Inter-Varsity Dance Competition (IVDC): February
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.
Like most university competitions, the morning and afternoon sessions consist of open competitions at levels from beginner to advanced, including same sex. 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. As of 2020, CUDT have won the overall team trophy for 10 consecutive years.
The Southern Universities Dancesport Competition (SUDC): February
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.
The Nottingham Varsity Event: November
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. This is usually the first external competition of the university Dancesport year that CUDT attends, so is often the first experience many of our dancers have of an intervarsity Dancesport competition.
CUDT Reunion Match (Old Team, New Team): October
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. This is often the first chance that new partnerships for the year get to dance and show the progress they have made in the first weeks of term.