FAQs

What is Dancesport?
What if I haven’t danced before?
What if I have danced before?
Do I need a partner?
How much is it likely to cost?
What should I wear?
What are Full and Half Blues?
What is the Varsity match?

What is Dancesport?
Dancesport is the competitive side of Ballroom and Latin American dancing, as seen on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. It consists of five dances of each style, Waltz, Quickstep, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz for Ballroom, and Cha Cha, Jive, Samba, Rumba, and Paso Doble for the Latin American dances. At Cambridge we follow the international style, rather than the American steps. As a dance form it combines technical prowess, physical fitness, discipline, etiquette, teamwork, and a competitive edge. It is this combination which distinguishes Dancesport as a sport, as well as an art form.

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What if I haven’t danced before?
That is not a problem! It is not unusual for a complete beginner in Ballroom & Latin to make the First or Second Team in his/her first year of dancing. We also have an excellent Beginners’ Team (CUBDT) which is consistently among the country’s best. You are eligible for the team if you have had no professional Dancesport tuition before March of the year in which you join CUBDT. Beginners attend the same competitions as the rest of CUDT and compete against other beginners’ teams from around the country. It is a great way to get into Dancesport, and many top dancers on CUDT were originally in CUBDT. Alternatively, if you would like to try these dance styles, but you don’t want to commit to competing (which is fantastic fun and nowhere near as scary as it sounds) then the Cambridge Dancers Club offers classes for people to learn at their own pace. More information can be found on their website.

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What if I have danced before?
Great! Please contact the CUDT Captain and Vice-Captain at cudtcaptains@gmail.com and they will discuss the best options for you. CUDT includes a few dancers each year with a background in Ballet, Hip Hop, or other styles, but without prior Dancesport experience, who make the transition smoothly into Dancesport. So do get in touch regardless of the style you have trained in! If you have rhythm, a desire to train hard, and a love of dancing then we would love to have you.

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Do I need to bring a partner to team trials?
No you do not. Partnering is carried out after trials by the Coaches and Captains with the aim of putting together the best possible team. So come along as an individual dancer, or with friends, and we will try you out with a range of dancers there on the day. If, however, you do have a partner, let us know! The more dancers we have, the best team we can put forward, we don’t attempt to split an existing partnership unless we strongly believe there are much better alternatives for both of you.

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How much is it likely to cost?
Taking part in Dancesport does incur costs. Costumes are usually provided by the team, but shoes and make-up are each individual’s responsibility. There is a subscription cost for each term, in order to cover practice venue hire and other costs incurred as a group, and there are also competition entry and transport costs. Members of CUDT are also expected to take regular private classes which they pay for with their partner. However, the committee work hard to ensure these costs are as low as possible, and so remain affordable for students. We receive large discounts from dance shoes retailers, a generous subsidy from the Cambridge Dancers’ Club and a great sponsorship from Catherine Jones of Cambridge. Furthermore, because of its Blues status, many colleges subsidise their students to take part in Dancesport which can help with the costs. If you would like to know more, please contact our Treasurer.

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What should I wear?
At training practices and lessons the general rule is to be comfortable and able to move. For both men and women, suitable Ballroom or Latin shoes should be worn, to ensure that the training is suitable practice for competitions. For men, it is common to either wear tracksuit bottoms, as long as they don’t drag on the floor or risk getting caught; or practice trousers, which tend to be a little looser than typical smart trousers. Most men choose to wear a t-shirt or shirt with this, and it is advisable to bring a spare if you are prone to perspiration as training can get very intense. For women, practice skirts tend to be around ankle length for Ballroom and shorter and/or asymmetric for Latin. Practice tops may have a variety of designs, including asymmetric cuts or drape effects. Heel protectors should be worn by ladies at all times, both in training and at competitions.

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What are Full and Half Blues?
At the University of Cambridge a ‘Blue’ is a recognition of sporting excellence, usually linked to representing the University at the top tier of your sport. Egilibility for Full Blues and Half Blues in each sport is decided separately for men and women by their respective Blues Committees and more information can be found on their websites. Being awarded a Blue can make you eligible to apply to the Hawk’s Club for men, and the Osprey’s for women. They are two University societies for people of sporting excellence. More information can be found on their websites. Dancesport has Discretionary Full Blue status for both men and women as of June 2016.

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What is the Varsity match?
The Varsity match is a term used to refer to an annual sporting competition between two British universitites. Cambridge tradititonally competes against Oxford in our Varsity events. For CUDT it is the only competition in the Easter (summer) term and each University puts forward two teams of 9 couples to compete in the Varsity (A team) and Challenge (B team) match. Only students at the University of Cambridge are eligible for the Varsity Match and the Challenge Match. Finishing in the top 9 couples in the A team match overall is the criterion for being awarded a Half Blue for both men and women, and competing for the Cambridge A team is one of the criteria for women to achieve a full Blue.

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