Early last Saturday morning, York’s Dancesport team assembled to take on the north at the Northern Universities Dancesport Competition (NUDC)! Each year, NUDC is hosted by the Dancesport society of a different university, and this time – very conveniently for us – this happened to be Leeds. We left campus at about 8:00am and arrived at the Castleford Civic Centre (in Castleford, vaguely near Leeds) about half an hour later, leaving just enough time to do hair and try out the very nice, yet slightly small, dancefloor ahead of the 9:00am start.
The day began as usual with ballroom, opening with the Ragtime Swing sequence dance. Congratulations go to Andrew Grantham and Katie Peeling for making it into the third round! All ten ballroom and Latin American dances have open rounds at Northerns, but with a twist – instead of being one-dance (individual, unconnected) events, if you are to enter any, you have to enter all! Andrew and Katie should also be commended here for making it into the second round of this tough competition.
Some of York’s couples did very well in the compulsory ballroom events, including Matthew Taylor and Anna Hughes, who came joint sixth in Ex-Student Novice Ballroom out of the twenty six participating couples. A particular spotlight goes to beginners Marc Short and Aimee Chung, who danced brilliantly all day and made it through to the second rounds of all four of their dances – Waltz and Quickstep, as well as Cha Cha Cha and Jive for Latin. Well done all!
Quite a few others also had considerable success in Latin, with most of the two-dance novice couples making it into the second round. Particular commendations go to Katie and Anna for making it into the semi-final of Ex-Student Latin! As the event was running ahead of schedule, it was decided, to the audience’s delight, that there would be a man-man rumba. Two ‘couples’ from York took place in this, but unfortunately neither made it through to the second round, which ended up being a man-man Paso instead (I say unfortunately, but finalists had to do a solo rumba, so for my sake I was actually quite pleased!). The Latin section of the day came to a close with a ‘social Salsa and Samba’, giving us a chance to relax and wind down ahead of the many events which still lay before us, and was concluded by an excellent Latin demonstration by professional couple Ben Jones and Amy Dowden.
The demonstration was followed immediately by Offbeat. Offbeat is a whole team competition requiring universities to choreograph and perform a dance routine which isn’t based on any of the ten standard dances. Ours was titled ‘A York Student’s Gap Year’, and encompassed dancing styles from an array of different cultures, including Bollywood, line dancing and Argentine Tango! Out of the six universities taking part, York won, with our routine being praised for its creativity. Choreography credits go to Andrew, Katie, Dessislava Veltcheva, Becky Wells, Anna, Lauren Harrison and Vikki Gale; thank you for all of your hard work in putting the routine together. This was a fantastic achievement for the team, and we were all elated at the result.
Now eleven hours into the competition, you’d be forgiven for thinking that things would soon be coming to a close. Alas, this was not the case: the next round was one of the highest energy of them all – Rock ‘n’ Roll! With some of our couples involved in another dance event back in York, our usual Rock ‘n’ Roll prowess was a little underrepresented at NUDC, but well done to Freddie Turner and Anda Baumerte who made it into the second round.
Team Knockout was next on the day’s agenda. This is a very fast-paced and exciting event which sees teams go head-to-head in a championship-like setup. Two universities are selected at random, a dance is picked, and the team captains have only five seconds to choose a couple and get them onto the dancefloor; if this isn’t done in time, the team is disqualified! Amusingly, York and Lancaster were picked to dance against each other – and in the spirit of repeating Roses history… we won! We continued on to come third overall – another fantastic result for the team.
Team Match formally concluded the day, and though neither York’s A nor B teams progressed into the second rounds on this occasion, I have been asked to praise Belle Kenyon and Ellen McKerney for their excellent Waltzing.
Come time to head home, apologies go to the team captains, who having finally shepherded us all into a state of being ready to leave, lost us to the dancefloor one final time when the Cha Cha Slide and other disco tracks started playing! Leaving Castleford a little after 11:00pm, we were back in York by about half past the hour.
York really showed their team spirits at NUDC, with excellent results in Offbeat and Team Knockout. This Friday evening we set off bound for Blackpool, and with us all impatient to perform our Offbeat routine again, stay tuned to hear how we get on at the biggest event of the year!
Words by Freddie Turner