Dancesquad and Dancesport teamed up for the day to represent UEA in Contemporary, Ballroom and Latin, Jazz and Hip-Hop dance against a very strong Essex team.
Ballroom and Latin was the first round to be examined; Essex performed a sequence of Latin dances starting with the Cha-Cha-Cha, then a Samba, Rumba and closing with a Jive. The professionalism and technique shown by Essex was superb, and the Jive section in particular showcased the talents of some exceptional male dancers from this university. UEA’s counter performance in this round consisted of ballroom and Latin dances performed simultaneously, telling a great story of the battle of the styles. With great attack and variety in the steps, the piece was technical and energetic. The round was awarded as a draw; whilst Essex could have taken the round for technique, UEA can always be relied on to create a winning atmosphere.
In the Contemporary round Essex stunned with a beautifully emotional routine that utilised a vast performance space, movement against the floor and ambitious use of the body. The synchronicity of the company was maintained well through the performance, and the energy remained through an expressive and lyrical first half, to a dramatic, panic-stricken second half. UEA retaliated with a vibrant, dramatic piece that, similarly, utilised the space with lyricism and musicality. They maintained great speed and attack throughout the routine.
The Jazz round, later in the competition, began to betray Essex’s greatest weakness; persistent reliance on one very strong dancer leading the group at all times. Whilst their routine benefited from an elegant beginning, a great selection of music and an undeniable sense of the demand of the style, the group dynamic began to wane slightly at this stage. UEA’s Jazz performers were larger in number; breaking the tradition of a variety of music to dance to the entirety of Rollin’ On The River, the piece was inclusive for all dancers, pure jazz, and unbelievably good fun.
The Hip-Hop rounds were examined in Intermediate and Advanced tiers; Essex took the floor with incredible routines, their male dancers really stealing the show with their stage presence and gravity-defying break-dancing. Polished yet free, spirited and highly confident, Essex showed strength in powerful beginnings and a brilliant finish. UEA performed in every sense of the word, with a truly modern, imaginative and at times humorous routine complete with astonishing gymnastics. The fun factor was contagious, and Advanced in particular was almost painfully cool.
Overall victory went to UEA, with Essex taking a point for their Intermediate Hip-Hop and half a point for a Latin draw. It was, however, a hard-fought competition that showed exceptional talent and skill from both teams, across the board.