By Erica Maré
While we were all catching up with our loved ones or series during this past holiday, the UCT Ballroom & Latin Dancing Society was Foxtrotting away to Stellenbosch for the annual South African National Student Ballroom and Latin-American Social Dance Competition. Or, as they prefer to call it, Intervaristy.
In an interview with the society’s Chairperson, Jess Fish, and Vice Chairperson, Ehber Burger, Varsity newspaper got an inside look at what competitive dancing is all about.
“There were five different universities competing for an overall winner. It is a great opportunity for these universities to mix and get to know each other”, said Jess.
From these universities, there were more or less 300 hundred dancers. Each category had a few rounds, wherein 20 couples per round dance for 1.5 minutes to try and impress the eight judges.
“They look for good technique, being in time with music, being neat and presentable. You stuck out even when your technique was not the best, but you were smiling and enjoying yourself”, said Jess. “It’s not like Strictly Come Dancing with the flashy costumes with feathers and open backs. Because it is a student competition and the main emphasis is on social dancing and having fun”.
In the week leading up to this Intervarsity, UCT’s dancers were training hard in their ‘Fun Week’. In their practice from Monday to Thursday, everyone got to know each other and danced with their partners all day. This bonding helped the UCT dancers win the (huge) Spirit Trophy. Their highly qualified coach was good at preparing the dancers in class and made sure that they were ready to take the floor.
At this Intervarsity, couples danced on the floor whilst the other competitors waited in the marshalling areas. “As soon as everyone was off the floor you get herded on and you had to dance. But as you walked off, the next heat walked on. So, it was almost over before you knew it”, said Jess.
The favourite memory from this experience, for Ehber, was the back massage after all the hard work. Jess said, “It was really nice all staying together. If you needed something there was always someone to help you. When your hair-bun fell out, make-up got smudged or if you needed gel or polish, there was always someone who will get you on time on the floor”.