Blackpool 2019 began with our infamous six hour coach journey. But with plenty of service stops and a high spirited Team Captain/President quiz, it felt like no time at all before we arrived at our hotel overlooking the competition venue: a new location for our team this year, but the perfect home for our three day trip. We took the evening to explore the local area – and of course take photos in front of the famous Blackpool Tower – before enjoying our traditional team meal at Bella Italia, alongside our incredible Ballroom and Latin coach, who had driven all the way up to Blackpool to support us over the weekend.
After an early start, Saturday 23 February saw the competition come to life. With teams coming to compete from all over the country, the Empress Ballroom was packed with ballroom dancers, dresses and tail suits by the time we got through the queue to find our seats. The Inter Varsity Dance Competition is the biggest event of the year on the university circuit – we were up against some of the very best and had the pleasure of learning from a huge variety of teams and routines throughout the day.
With nine couples entering the competition, we certainly had our hands full! Royal Holloway had competitors on the floor for almost every category, from Beginners Ballroom and Latin all the way up to Advanced 4 Dance. Throughout the day we performed everything from waltz and tango to rumba and jive, but we weren’t just dancing; we also had the pleasure of watching presentations from salsa champions and some of the nation’s most successful ballroom dancers. Following this, a team walk-on gave our captains the chance to show off our new banner and mascot, and get the crowd cheering for Royal Holloway ahead of the final event of the day: Team Match, where you couldn’t miss us in our traditional purple team kit (you may have seen us wearing this around campus a few weeks ago!)
By the end of the day, we had some incredible results across all of our categories. Our Beginners achieved incredible results against a huge number of competitors, with some making it to the third rounds of their Ballroom and Latin events and placing up to 45th. Our Novice couples fought hard against difficult heats, reaching up to 39th place, and our Advanced couple brought home an astounding third and fourth place in Latin and Ballroom 4 Dances respectively. Considering that some of these events had over 150 couples entering, representing teams from all over the UK, our team truly did themselves proud and brought back some fantastic nationals results for Royal Holloway.
With the competition over, we were able to spend the following day exploring Blackpool and relaxing as a team. Some team members enjoyed go karting, explored the fairground rides, and made the most of the seafront cafés. So it’s safe to say that we made the most of our last day away. We finally reached home turf after another six hour journey and said goodbye to Blackpool 2019 to prepare for Varsity.
We had an incredible trip this year with some fantastic results. Ballroom & Latin are already looking forward to going back to Blackpool next year. Our 2020 vision certainly involves a lot of purple! We can’t wait to bring some more Royal Holloway team spirit to the Empress Ballroom!
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