Lancaster University Ballroom Dance Society host annual Charity Showcase

The Lancaster University Ballroom Dancing Society (LUBDS) will be holding their annual Charity Showcase this Friday, Week 4, to raise money for Cancer Research in the form of a Strictly Come Dancing style event with well-known campus faces, or ‘celebrities’.

This year’s celebrity couples are: Emily Rack (Former Baking Society President) with Joe Reed, Charlie Edwards (Former Lonsdale College President) with Connie O’Donnell, Andy Ainscough (Lancaster University Theatre Group President) with Alice Southern, Mia Scott (CCO Charity) with Theodore Sheehy, Tom Fox (VP Welfare and Community) with Amber Small, Rachel Harrison (ULMs President) with Alex Hocknull, Matthew Berrington (Lancaster Bombers President) with Hannah Metcalfe, and finally, Sam Ashcroft (President of the Christian Society) with Chloe Wellington. On the judging panel are Lancaster alumni Andrew Pickup – former President of LUBDS – and Emily Pollitt, former Lancaster University Dance Society (LUDanS) President and current VP (Activities).

As the society’s biggest annual event, with all the proceeds going to charity, SCAN caught up with LUBDS President Joe Reed to chat about what students can expect from the Showcase. “Essentially the purpose of the showcase is to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research, they have been the charity that we have raised money for the last four years, and for as long as [the Showcase] has been going on. We like to showcase the talent that we have, and it gives us an opportunity to work with other societies. For example, LUDanS are doing a couple of dances, ULMs provide the band, LA1:TV provide a lot of coverage before the event and they also film the whole event to produce a DVD which we sell; with the profits contributing to the final total.”

Reed spoke about the choices this year, claiming the celebrities this year “are from a wide range of cross-campus groups, we have a few from LUSU such as Tom Fox who is dancing with our team captain… but mostly this year it is made up from society presidents. Sports are represented in the form of Lancaster Bombers, we have a wide range of people from groups to appeal to as many people as possible.”

With the aim of the event being to raise as much money for charity as possible, SCAN enquired as to where the funding comes from to organise such a large-scale event. Reed replied “We get quite a bit of support… the most important thing is that LICA – who run the Great Hall – provide the room for free which is very generous of them indeed because usually they charge. We manage to keep our costs very low, essentially because most people volunteer to do things which is also very generous… all the tech people do the whole thing for free; nearly everything we do is done by ourselves or people who volunteer to do it – which keeps our costs minimal.” So far, Reed stated that they had sold around 100 tickets and that the previous year LUBDS had managed to raise £2,200. “We’re hoping to beat that this year, fingers crossed, but it will be a tough. Over the last three years it went from £1,800 to just over £2,000 – then £2,200 so it has gone up quite a lot in the last few years alone.”

As for his personal involvement with the society, Reed told SCAN that he was co-opted on to the exec in his first year, and has been actively involved with the society and the Charity Showcase for the last two years: “Last year I danced with Rachel Harvey, who was then VP (Media and Communications) which was fun, it was a learning curve [as] I’m not very good at choreography, I really enjoyed it. This year I’m with Emily Rack, she’s very talented and a natural dancer… I’ve got high hopes for this year because she’s very good.” Reed revealed the majority of the rehearsals he had seen were from LA1:TV coverage – that have been posted online over the last couple of weeks – and he admitted that the competition would be stiff, claiming “it’s getting competitive.” He declined to comment on who he thought would win, stating that “it is very close between a few couples” and that he thought it would be a case of who performed best on the night.

SCAN also asked Reed what he thought made a Lancaster University campus ‘celebrity’, and how the celebrities are selected for the Showcase, in case anybody particularly wanted to be involved next year. Laughing, he said “I’m not really sure, some people have made it very, very clear they want to be a part of it, they make unsubtle hints about wanting to be involved… get into some kind of position, make yourself known and tell us that you want to be a part of it.”

Tickets for the event are £5 with a Purple card, £8 without with – all the proceeds going towards Cancer Research. They can be purchased during LUBDS lessons, which take place on Tuesdays in the Minor Hall and Thursdays in County South lecture theatre from 8 until 10pm. They can also be purchased Tuesday, Week 4, in Alexandra Square where members of LUBDS will be selling tickets all day. Tickets can also be reserved by emailing lancasterballroom@gmail.com. The Charity Showcase will take place in the Great Hall on Friday, Week 4 (February 7th) from 7:30pm, and previews of rehearsals, the celebrities and their dances can all be found on LA1:TV’s website.

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