There are so many clubs and societies for you to get involved with at Manchester! Whatever your hobby, chances are you can find like-minded people to share your passion with! Throughout my undergraduate degree I was involved in ballroom and Latin American dancing and was thrilled to find that I could continue with it here in Manchester…
“Whatever your passion be sure to take the time away from your studies to do what you love…”
The Manchester University Ballroom and Latin society meet once a week for lessons of all standards covering all the graceful ballroom and the sexy latin dances. Throughout the year we practice hard and often at weekends there will be a friendly competition against other University teams where we can glam up and strut our stuff on the dancefloor. The highlight of our year though is the Inter-Varsity Dance Competition in the world famous
Empress Ballroom in Blackpool Winter Gardens; though an elegant affair in beautiful surroundings there is all the excitement and noise as a football match, sequins wherever you look and afterwards we know how to party! 😉 So here’s what went on during IVDC weekend!
Friday night: the coaches left for Blackpool filled to the brim with dresses sequins and shoes. The excitement really built as we spotted the Blackpool Tower as we came down the motorway. At the hotel we could kick back and relax with the rest of the team and a pizza delivery before some last minute tanning prep (there’s no such thing as too orange for Blackpool!) and an early night.
Saturday morning: alarms went off at 6:30 and it was straight up to get ready! Cans upon cans of hairspray slicked our hair back, makeup was heavy and by breakfast everyone was looking glamorous and ready for action. Inside the ballroom was chaos as usual, dresses everywhere, people practicing left, right and centre, and there was just enough time to get ready with numbers pinned on before kicking off the first round at 9.
Competitions always start with the ballroom rounds in the morning and each couple from Manchester waited for their turn to waltz, quickstep and tango around the dancefloor against other couples from universities across the country. Competitions are split into categories of different abilities and experiences; everyone watches with awe during the Advanced rounds, hoping that one day we’ll be just as good! As rounds progressed we waited nervously to hear if our number got called and we lived to fight another round. My partner and I reached the semi-finals for Ballroom against some really tough competition. Excited for the afternoon we changed for Latin…
Saturday afternoon: The latin rounds followed in the afternoon and everyone transforms themselves from graceful ballroom-wear to shorter and sassier latin-wear. The latin music is louder and has an infectious beat so you really feel that the party is getting started and we couldn’t wait for our turn to shake it on the dancefloor! My partner and I made it all the way to the finals for our jive and cha cha cha, along with two other Manchester couples, but we had to wait until the very end of the day to hear where we placed.
Saturday evening: After competing as individual couples throughout the day we all come together for the Team Match in the evening; this is where things get really loud and exciting! This time we compete as teams of 4 couples in different dances against other universities, cheering each other on as we battle it out for the title! Whist it might be an elegant sport the competition is always fierce!
At 10 PM the results from the day were announced and my partner and I were thrilled to have placed first in our latin competition! Excitement hit the roof and we were ready to go out and celebrate!
Saturday night: After a quick change in the hotel we went out to hit the town to celebrate our successes. We had booked an area in one of the Blackpool bars and we were joined by all the other dancers from the other universities for a good old-fashioned party! You’d think after 14 hours of dancing we’d be tired and fed up of it but the party continued into the small hours before we collapsed into bed!
Sunday morning: We woke on Sunday tired and aching but as the sun was shining we headed to the beach for an explore before the coach took us back to Manchester
We all had a fantastic weekend away; the Manchester Ballroom and latin team are a fantastic group of people and never fail to help me forget the stresses of my PhD! The cherry on top was us taking the latin title 😉 Whatever your passion be sure to take the time away from your studies to do what you love, and if you’re into dancing we can’t wait to welcome you in September!