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DANCESPORT - Varsity 2016 Match Report

The 43rd Dancesport Varsity Match took place on Saturday May 14th, 2016 at Iffley Road Sports Centre, Oxford.

Varsity is uniquely different to all other Dancesport competitions that CUDT have been to so far. Each side enters two teams of nine couples to compete in the Varsity Match (A Team) and Challenge Match (B Team). In each match, each team is divided into three heats - the Home side A,B & C and the away side D,E & F. Each heat then dances against each of the opposite team’s heat in a straight final format where judges mark couples in descending order 1-6. A first mark earns six points for the team and a sixth placing earns 1 point. The scores are then added together across nine finals of each of the four dances - Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and Jive, and the team with the higher score wins. This format requires couples to be all-rounders in both Ballroom and Latin. The high number of final rounds to dance (twelve for each couple across four dances) and the length of each round means that fitness also plays an incredibly important role in this match. The Cambridge Squad has trained incredibly hard in the run up to this competition, determined to keep the Varsity Shield where it belongs.

The day began with the Challenge Match. This year’s Cambridge B Team had a high number of ex-beginners (those who have only started Dancesport since October 2015). This is a reflection of the team’s traditional strength in training home-grown talents. Initially, the competition appeared to be close with both sides displaying some strong dancing. However, Cambridge’s strength in depth quickly showed, especially in the Latin section, resulting in a massive 798 points difference in the total scores.

Challenge Match Result Cambridge Oxford
Waltz 557 388
Quickstep 545 400
Cha-cha 584 361
Jive 603 342
Total 2289 1491

Cambridge overwhelmingly won the Challenge Shield. Philipp Verpoort and Nina Friedrich won the Best Latin Couple award, while CUDT veteran Paul Fannon and his partner Sarah Bull won the best Ballroom Couple and Best Overall Couple. Beginner stars Harry Kingdon and Abi Malins won the Best Newcomer award.

The afternoon began with the Varsity Match. The Oxford side had some very strong dancers but the Cambridge team was more than prepared to rise up to the challenge. In the Waltz, the competition appeared to be too close to call with some very strong dancing from both sides. However, the consistent fitness training the Cambridge team underwent soon paid off in the Quickstep - a dance that typically required much more stamina than the Waltz - and Cambridge edged ahead. The Latin dances have traditionally been a strength of Cambridge and the team quickly widened the gap with some very strong dancing.

Varsity Match Result Cambridge Oxford
Waltz 475 470
Quickstep 505 440
Cha-cha 517 428
Jive 519 426
Total 2016 1764

Cambridge won its fifth consecutive Varsity title. Outgoing Captain Kien Trinh and his partner Kirsty Mary Davies won the Best Ballroom, Best Latin and Best Overall Couple award for the Cambridge side. The Best Newcomer award went to Michael Ha and Maria Ouvarova. As a separate event, CUDT Head Coach David Mallabone also announced the Couple of the Year award, chosen by CUDT’s distinguished panel of coaches for the couple who has displayed the truest CUDT spirit in work ethics and their support for fellow team mates. Chris May-Miller and Rachel Cummings were deservingly recognised. Despite only just starting their journey in Dancesport as complete beginners in October 2015, both have shown absolute exemplary behaviour both on and off the dancefloor and they received the honour in thundering applause from the team.

The Varsity Match victory sealed off another undefeated year for Cambridge. The team has been the National and Varsity champions for the fifth consecutive year and continues to go from strength to strength. CUDT now looks forward to celebrating its success at the end of the year and to more dancing achievements in the next season, led by incoming Captain and Vice Captain Tom Nelson and Tom Brown.