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Dancesport do… Roses 2015

York's 30-strong team about to start the competition with some 1960s style!

Saturday 25th April saw York’s Dancesport team taking part in a very special and exciting competition – Roses 2015! This year the event, in which York and Lancaster continue the feud of the Wars of the Roses by battling against each other in the largest intervarsity sports competition in Europe, was held at home . This gave us a burning desire to win, and a slightly later start, which is always appreciated.

The competition began at 11:00AM with the two universities’ ‘walk on’ routines. The walk on is a fun, whole team dance – possibly incorporating aspects of ballroom and Latin American dancing – which allows each team to show off their dancing talents. York’s walk on took the form of a Rock and Roll and Jive-based routine to the song ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’ from Hairspray.

The day then progressed on to the ballroom dances. There are only three categories at Roses, with novice and intermediate being absorbed into advanced, and it was evident that many team members thoroughly enjoyed the alleviated dress restrictions which followed from this by wearing elaborate dresses and ball gowns. The advanced rounds were danced first, and consisted of the Waltz and Quickstep – the usual two compulsory ballroom dances danced at competitions – with the addition of the elegant but dizzying Viennese Waltz. Following these were the ex-student, open, and beginner rounds; the open rounds, in which anyone can take part, were Tango and Foxtrot. Particular congratulations should be extended to the beginner couples Lydia Teale and Delali Konu for their success in Quickstep, and Freddie Turner and Belle Kenyon for their success in Waltz. Advanced and ex-student couples to be spotlighted include Andrew Grantham and his partners Louise Lambton and Hannah Wilson, who are probably struggling to find space for all of the trophies that they acquired! Before the ballroom section of the day was closed, there was time for two fun rounds: the incredibly difficult ‘reverse roles intervarsity Waltz’, in which members of each team had to dance the reverse waltz steps with a member of the other team; and ‘musical statues Quickstep’. The awards presentation followed, concluding the ballroom part of the day.

After an incredibly short lunch break , just enough time for team members to get changed into their dazzling Latin outfits, both teams were straight back on the floor for the Latin American dancing rounds. These consisted of the Cha-Cha-Cha, Jive, Paso Doble, Samba and Rumba. Congratulations must go to Lydia Teale and Vikki Gale, who won beginners’ Latin outright, coming first in both Cha-Cha-Cha and Jive; Marcel Hark and Katya Tckhakaia, who won advanced Cha and open Rumba, and came second in Jive; and to Richard Bennett and Eleanor Sinclair, who came first in advanced Jive. It is very difficult to pick out particular couples, however, and the list could go on…

The last (serious) round of the day was Rock and Roll. York has consistently excelled at this event and their performance at Roses was no different, with the final consisting only of York couples! Huge congratulations go to beginner couple David Barker and Lauren Harrison, who, as well as performing consistently very well throughout the day, achieved first place. I say the last ‘serious’ event of the day as there was still one more to come – the same sex Rumba! Unfortunately Lancaster triumphed over York in this fun event, but David Barker and Richard Bennett’s beautiful display of elegance and passion will not be forgotten (regardless of how hard one tries)!

The competition concluded at about 4:00PM with the presentation of the Latin awards. Roses always marks the society’s committee’s handover, and outgoing president Nicola Haydon addressed the 2014/15 committee, thanking them for their hard work with personalised thank you cards. Gifts, cards and flowers organised by the team were then presented to Nicola and vice president Sophie Hawtin, and the following moments were filled mostly with hugs and emotional messages. It was a poignant handover, with many members of the former committee moving on from the university at the end of this year; we all wish those who are every success in their futures, and you will be thoroughly missed.

The end of the competition didn’t bring with it the end of the fun! After a short break, we were joined by the very talented Lancaster University Dance Band, to whose smooth music we waltzed, quickstepped and foxtrotted away the remainder of the afternoon. The feud between the two universities broke down and everyone danced and socialised with each other. The close of the dancing was met with pizza, and red and white rose themed cakes made by a member of York’s team (yum).

York Dancesport triumphed in this year’s Roses, with a 3:1 win against Lancaster. Congratulations once more to everyone who helped to achieve this tremendous result, and thank you to all who came and supported us. This year, ‘Roses were white’ overall, with York now establishing a slightly more comfortable lead of 26 Roses victories to Lancaster’s 24.

Words courtesy of Freddie Turner