Monday, November 24, 2008

Collegiate Ballroom Competition

Attached to OSB is the National Collegiate Competition that the University of Michigan takes part in. We drove there on Friday night (see previous post) and watched the professional dancers on Friday night. The competition is split into four parts, American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard and International Latin. For OSB we can sign up for up to 2 levels and 8 events total, far less than Purdue.

Saturday morning was American Smooth and meant I could sleep in. I only had to dance from 12.05 which was the International Latin section. I participated in 4 events, Bronze Chacha-Rumba, Bronze Samba, Bronze Jive and Silver Samba-Jive. Lining up I realised why you can only sign up for 8 events. Bronze Chacha-Rumba had 119 couples! I marvel at the organisation involved in marshaling such numbers. The picture below shows the layout of the back of the exhibition hall we danced in.

After the Latin section were fun dances, I have no clue how to do Bolero, but I can do a decent Paso Doble (at least in the fun section). Kevin and I (apparently a Bronze couple can beat the Gold couples) placed fourth.

Round up for day one:
Bronze Chacha-Rumba: Semifinal
Bronze Samba - Quarterfinal
Bronze Jive - 2nd place (woohoo)
Silver Samba-Jive - First round
Fun Paso Doble - 4th place :P

Day two started with American Rhythm which meant another sleep in (yay) but they ran so far ahead of time (1.5 hours) that our leisurely morning became somewhat short, our warmup dance was the first round of Bronze Standard Waltz, not ideal. Bronze Waltz-Quickstep had 118 couples, so the same chaos as the previous day applies and hence the same number of rounds to get to the finals (6 rounds in total). I had a lot of fun doing Standard but was so tired when i had to dance QF,SF and finals in a row without leaving the floor. Need water....

After collapsing in a heap next to the dancefloor we were priviledged to watch the Novice to Championship dancers and WOW, I can't describe the gracefulness and musicality of the couples. I am positively jealous.

The last event of the day were the fun dances, something I think UCT should adopt for Intervarsity next year. Anyone can get on the floor and the judges walk round and pick 6 couples each, next round 4 etc until 6 couples are left for a final. Sunday's dances were Hustle, Merengue, Salsa and West Coast Swing. I learnt the basic on the floor during the dance for West Coast Swing (still don't get it). Kevin and I have been practicing for weeks with Matt and Julia for Hustle but due to lift issues Julia had to leave. Kevin and I won, which in all fairness should be Matt and Julia's first, they taught us all their moves. The Fun Merengue was a blast, Eric Yu (president of UM Ballroom Team) and I sometimes dance it together at Open Dance but we pulled out all the stops for Merengue, I have never shaken and shimmied that much before. We won which was hilarious. Definitely something to remember, I'm glad there were no camera's at that point though.

Round up for day two:
Bronze Waltz-Quickstep - 6th place (yay for fixing Waltz dynamics)
Bronze Tango - Semifinal (we finally got the sharpness right)
Bronze Foxtrot - Semifinal (I'm slightly annoyed we didn't make finals, if I look as bad as a few of the couples in the final I should just give up now)
Silver Foxtrot-Tango - First round
Fun Merengue - 1st place (with Eric Yu)
Fun Hustle - 1st place (never let it be said a foreigner can't beat the locals at their own game :) )

I am now tired and sore and have heel size bruises from people heeling me in various dances. I am officially done with competitions over here and am quite happy with the results, I did much better than expected given the number of couples in each level and the competitive attitude I have yet to adopt. That aside, I can't wait to come home and dance at my first UCT social again.

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