Triumph at the Tower for Ballroom Dance Society

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With its majestic golden décor, sweeping red carpet and twinkling chandeliers hanging from ceilings decorated with intricately beautiful scenes of cherubs and angels, Blackpool Tower is truly a magnificent location.  The beautiful venue was the setting for the Northern University Dance-sport Competition that was hosted by Lancaster University Ballroom Dancing Society.

Lancaster beat the likes of Edinburgh, Nottingham and Sheffield to host the prestigious event, and the ballroom dance society had meticulously prepared since October to ensure the event ran smoothly; it was certainly an event that will be remembered fondly by Lancaster.

On the 10th February, the Northern Dance Teams and Lancaster University Ballroom Dance Society, LUBDS, ventured to Blackpool with aspirations of taking home silverware.

LUBDS had an enthusiastic team competing at various levels, and were thrilled to have an influx of new couples competing, many of which  received several call-backs.

For those unfamiliar with the structure of the competitions, all couples dance in heats given the sheer volume of participants, and are either selected for a call-back or knocked out until 6 remain in the final, which are then decided upon in a final heat. At the Northern Universities Dance-sport Competition there were several categories that could be entered: Beginners, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced Ballroom and Latin for current students. The Open 5 Dance is open to present and past students as is the Mayfair Quickstep and Rock and Roll. There are also Team Matches and Team Knockouts that see two couples go head to head which is usually a crowd favourite.

The first heats featured the Mayfair Quickstep, a long standing favourite and a dance which Lancaster had a good track record in, taking five of the six top slots in Roses 2012. With almost 100 couples entering ranging from beginners to advanced, Lancaster certainly held their own, with seven couples, including four of Novice level making the top 30. The highlight of the competition was Lancaster taking the top two positions with Phil Rawcliffe and Hannah Roberts taking 1st place and Andrew Pickup and Sally Naylor being awarded 2nd. Both couples continued their winning streak with Pickup and Naylor placing 4th in Intermediate Waltz and Tango and Roberts and Rawcliffe securing 3rd in Open Dance Ballroom and 2nd in Advanced Waltz and Tango. The latter achievement is especially significant given they came 2nd to Liverpool’s  Kyle Taylor and Polina Shkylaeva, who are the reigning British Ballroom Champions and the current United Kingdom 10 Dance Champions.

The Lancaster victory was especially poignant for Roberts and Rawcliffe, who having retained their title as British Modern Sequence Champions last year, retired from competing; and as Roberts is graduating this year, NUDC marks one of their last ever competitions together.

Lancaster deserved huge congratulations for their fantastic results in both the Team Match and Team Knockout. Division A, consisting of Pickup and Naylor, Rawcliffe and Roberts, Amber Small and Eleanor Partridge, Tim Mueller and Alice Burrow came 3rd in their league; and Division B consisting of Luke Owen-Jones and Emily-Jayne Nicholls, Joe Reed and Chloe Wellington, Andrew Smith and Ann-Katrin Reusch, Jack Birkinshaw and Hannah Metcalfe came 2nd in their leagues.

Generally ranked on ability, both teams beat the likes of Warwick and Nottingham to claim the victory. Team Knockout is always a pressurized but thoroughly entertaining competition; two couples dance head to head with the dance style selected seconds before they must take to the floor.

Lancaster fought hard, and ended up coming 2nd overall, a higher position than rivals Liverpool. Lancaster had fewer Latin couples entering but the majority got callbacks across the board with Pickup and Reusch taking 5th place in Novice Cha and Jive, Lancaster’s only Latin couple to place.

LUBDS are now preparing for IVDC on the 2nd March where Universities across the country will be competing. Whilst excited about the competition it is hard to picture anything matching the splendor of NUDC that was a truly memorable day. The competition received a huge amount of publicity, even making it onto the BBC regional news. LA1: TV streamed the whole event and saw people across the world watching the competition; with high commendations to Josh Dean and his team for ceaseless effort to cover the entire event.

The event could not have happened without Lancaster’s Pickup, who organized the event. With the help of the NUDC Exec, made up of Becky Clark, Sally Naylor, Emily-Jayne Nicholls and Rebecca Wilson, Pickup pioneered the event from day one, ensuring every detail was thought through and there is no doubt that the event will be remembered for a very long time.

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