The Winter Gardens at Blackpool once again opened its doors last weekend to some 1000 competitors and hundreds of spectators for the 50th annual Inter Varsity Dance Competition. This year, more than 500 couples from 34 universities competed in ballroom, Latin and rock ‘n’ roll dance in the beautiful venues of the Empress Ballroom and the Spanish Hall.

UEA entered five couples into the beginner category, two of whom attended Blackpool to compete for the very first time. The performances given by couples Oliver Lake and Emily Lunn, and Helen Bear and Bethany Freeman were elegant and skilful, and showed much promise for the competitions of next year. Relatively new to the university circuit, Joel Lawrence and Louise Whiteside gave excellent performances in the ballroom and latin rounds. Seasoned beginner competitors Liam Hunt and Bernadette Treen, and Maxwell Rogers and Emma Webb, achieved second and third round respectively in the ballroom; Rogers and Webb progressed to fifth round of the jive in the afternoon Latin rounds.

There was much success in the novice rounds for UEA: all seven novice couples achieved between one and three ballroom call-backs, with Richard Ayre and Sarah-Jayne Aston reaching the quarter-finals for the ballroom Two Dance (waltz and quickstep). Mark Provis and Roxy Day attained a similar level of achievement in the afternoon Latin. Acrobatic connoisseurs Joel Lawrence and Nathalie Kernot gave an energetic and spirited performance in the acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll, whilst Kurt Lee and Ruth Jeffrey achieved third place in the overall final for non-acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of IVDA, all-English professional ballroom champions, currently ranked 15th in the world, Craig Shaw and his partner (and fiancé) Evgeniya Sutyaginskaya gave a special one-off performance of three dances from their competitive repertoire.

After a day full of entertainment, sparkles and beautiful dancing, UEA Dancesport is looking forward to the next academic year on the university competitive circuit.  Don’t forget to purchase your ticket for Strictly UEA from the Box Office before tonight.