The Ballet Society, the Modern Dance Society and the Irish dancing society from the University of Leeds proved they were a force to be reckoned with this weekend, bringing home trophies in an annual University competition.
The event took place at Nottingham Trent University, where over 8 Universities competed in different categories such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, lyrical, contemporary and street. With over 500 dancers there, it was expected to be a tough competition, with previous title holders such as Manchester University also in attendance.
However the students showed off Leeds in style. Firstly the Ballerinas took to the stage, who entered two teams, an Intermediate and an advanced team. Despite the pressures of the Intermediate team being the first act to perform of the entire day, their routine, entitled ‘Check Mate’ came second, narrowly missing out on first place Manchester.
The Advanced Team’s entry however, did not run as smoothly. With the wrong music being played, the pressure was on the team to cope with the demands of adapting the choreography to the slower music. However, a clean and polished performance earnt them first place with excellent scores, causing the captain Ellen Martin to burst into tears in pure shock at Leeds Ballet’s first ever first place score.
Leeds Modern Dance society had similar success. A quirky Advanced Tap number, inspired by members of the dance world’s favourite show, Ru Paul’s drag race, earnt them a well-deserved second place. Their intermediate team also came first, which was in fact choregraphed by students Maddie Gilbert and Alicia Baron, rather than other entries who had an external teacher. Not only does this demonstrate how talented the students in Leeds are, but also the dedication from the dancers to ensure their teams’ success.
Following the lunch break, tensions began to rise as the competitiveness between the teams accelerated. This was evident when both the Leeds lyrical team and the Manchester team had the same costumes and were in fact performing to the same song. In an almost identical routine that deemed impossible to judge, Leeds came second, beating the ‘home team’ Nottingham Trent.
A routine inspired by the struggles a woman faces in the work place, the advanced contemporary team from Leeds portrayed the narrative excellently. In what was arguably the toughest category of the day, the girls managed to secure a third-place victory, as well as ‘best costume’ for their suit attire.
However, I must not neglect what was the most important trophy of the day, the “Team Spirit Award’. On a day filled with chants, screaming and clapping, it proved tough to out cheer the other universities. Yet this is where we must mention the supportive Irish dancing society, whom brought pom-poms not just for their routine, but to wave on their fellow students as well.
After nearly seven hours of screaming and watching dozens and dozens of dance routines, it seems the patience was worth it, with the University of Leeds making a stamp on the competition world and putting themselves in great stead for the upcoming weeks.