It is February at York Dancesport, and that means it is competition time! Sandwiched between the Sheffield social we attended on the 7th and the Intervarsity Dancesport Competition at Blackpool on the 28th came the Northern University Dancesport Competition. Hosted by Warwick University, and held in Stoke, the venue was easily one of the best to have hosted recent competitions, with plenty of space for the several hundred dancers attending. York took a small team (including the Dancesport Duck), but every one of them impressed the Team Captain with both their dancing ability and their team spirit in a long day.
In the morning, we began with the ballroom; it was a supposedly sedate start to the day, however anyone who has danced a quickstep will be quick to dispute that point! Waltz was the clear favourite for our beginner couples, Timothy Pilbeam with Nina Hakovirta and Lydia Teale with Vikki Gale, as both couples reached the quarter-finals in a particularly pleasing performance. For our non-beginners, Richard Bennett and Katie Peeling matched the beginners with another quarter- final in the combined waltz and quickstep.
Over lunch attention turned to the rock and roll events, an area where York have recently achieved noticeable success despite the obvious issues combining the highly energetic rock and roll with a lunch break! Indeed, Richard Bennett and Lydia Teale combined to reach 4th place, while Richard and Katherine Jackson achieved 5th in the acrobatic rock and roll with a series of highly impressive lifts and tricks.
In the afternoon began the latin section, a colourful extravaganza of routines with a characteristically quick tempo. Timothy and Nina gave a very pleasing result when they repeated their earlier quarter final appearance with the same in cha-cha, while Lydia and Vikki produced the hugely impressive result of reaching the final of jive. This was all the more impressive considering this was the first competition Vikki had attended. For the non-beginners, several couples had some wonderful dancing deemed sadly unsuccessful by the judges; however Andrew Grantham and Nicola Haydon made the most of their makeshift partnership to reach the quarter-finals of the combined cha and jive in a surprising, but equally welcome, result.
So attention now shifts to preparations for Blackpool, the biggest event on the university dancing calendar. With a Latin demonstration from one of the world’s best couples, a venue in the iconic winter gardens, and of course the emerging dance partnership between Soctopus and the Dancesport Duck, this promises to be a great event, even before we get to the dancing. So, keeeep dancing…
Words provided by Andrew Grantham (York Dancesport team captain)