UEA Royal, the dynamic and talented dance society, have returned from the University of Manchester Dance Competition more determined than ever.
The Royal dancers were eager to take part in their first competition of the year organised by the University of Manchester at the Central Convention Complex on the weekend of the 27th of February. University dance squads from all over the UK stepped up to show off their skills, and UEA wowed the crowd with their ceaseless energy and innovative moves. Royal entered three different squads into the advanced category, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop.
With just three minutes in a dedicated space off stage to prepare, the groups were feeling the heat. However, as soon as the crew went up on stage, member of the hip hop squad, Darcie Caines, said that they were welcomed by a great atmosphere and a supportive crowd with chanting and lots of whooping from all the other universities. “As soon as we were on stage and the music started”, Darcie told us, “all nerves flew out the window, and we just had fun dancing together like we do in rehearsals. We hadn’t seen the other squads from UEA perform yet, so watching it for the first time on stage in full costume was amazing. It showed how hard everyone had worked and as a society we should be really proud”.
The dancers had been working tirelessly on their routines since November, which has been admirable, especially for the choreographers who are all in their third year. Jess Journo and Ellie Sears were the innovative minds behind ‘Freaks’, the circus inspired jazz number. Francis Varela choreographed the aptly named “Exuberance!!!”, as Isabella Pike and Maisie Fuller created a gripping contemporary piece titled: “Escape From War”.
Francis admitted that the process has been stressful at times, but said it had all been worth it. The competition also welcomed groups from other genres of dance too, including Irish and even Bollywood. These ‘wild card’ performances proved popular with the UEA dancers, and made their experience in the audience even more memorable.
Last year UEA Royal performed at EUDMS in Edinburgh, where hip-hop won the beginners category and impressively ended up winning the top spot in advanced and intermediate as well. Unfortunately, this year in Manchester, Royal didn’t place. The Mancs snatched most of the titles.
It wasn’t all bad luck for the UEA dance troop. Francis Varela from Hip Hop and Aoi Fuchigami from the Contemporary squad were both nominated for best dancer of the entire competition.
UEA Royal may have come home empty handed this time, but they have returned better than ever and ready for their next performance in Loughborough, where they will be entering into the advanced category.
The competition is set for the weekend of the 12th march, giving the dancers just a few more days of rehearsal until they hit the stage again