On Saturday I competed for the University of Manchester in the Liverpool University Dancesport competition; I thought I’d share with you my experiences of the day and give you an insight into the rhinestone-filled world of competitive ballroom and latin!
My alarm went off at 6:15 AM and I was straight out of bed and into the bathroom for hair and make-up. Tan was sorted the night before so it was a matter of making my face match the rest of my body which was the perfect shade of ballroom mahogany that can only be achieved with St Moritz. Eye makeup is heavy with a flick of eyeliner and a touch of Nars Albatross highlighter on the cheekbones. I gelled my hair back into a bun and kept the softer fringe section in place with and unbelievable amount of hairspray. A hurricane could have passed and my hair wouldn’t have budged!
At 7:30 AM I was on the train Liverpool-bound from Manchester. Cue train selfie ;) I was already nervous for the salsa rounds at lunchtime – in case you couldn’t guess from this blog, Salsa is my game and the round I wanted to do well in! I met my team mates in Liverpool Lime Street and we headed up Mount Pleasant to the University of Liverpool campus (my alma mater as it were…)
Once at the Liverpool Guild of Students it was a quick change into my (borrowed) ballroom dress; a gorgeous baby-pink DSI number with rhinestones on the bodice and a pink train on the right shoulder. The whole thing was kept on by two flimsy pieces of shoulder elastic which is always precarious but thankfully no malfunctions occurred! Onto the dancefloor for a warm-up with my partner before the Ballroom section of the competition (always in the morning).
In the morning we danced novice Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and Viennese Waltz, making the quarter finals for each round – happy with this! Then to change into my Latin dress for the Salsa competition and the start of the Latin rounds! My bright pink, tassled number with a low front and no back never fails to make me feel a million dollars!
I danced the salsa rounds with an old friend that I knew from my Liverpool days; he has rhythm like I’ve never seen before! That said, ballroom judges often prefer more upright, routine, ballroom styles of salsa to the more relaxed, improvised Cuban salsa that we specialise in, so rhythm was no guarantee of medals! Onto the dancefloor we went for the first heat…
We danced as well as I could have dreamed of and the round was over before we knew it; it’s impossible not to have fun dancing salsa! ;) With no time to rest the numbers for the semi-finals we recalled, 12 from 24…Our number was last to be called, 82, back on the floor we go!
After a great semi final round we were lucky enough to be recalled into the final 6 for one last push! We gave it everything we had! It was difficult to judge how well we had done as we couldn’t see how the other couples were looking on the floor whilst dancing, too much spinning! We waited nervously as they awarded the medals, calling out 4 numbers that weren’t ours…what would the next number be?? 49! We’d done it! Couple number 82 came in on top and we went up to collect our First place trophies. The ballroom judges complimented our Cuban style of dancing which was great to hear! Just goes to show, always be true to yourself and you will pull through; don’t try to be someone you’re not just to impress some judges, chances are they prefer the real you! ;)
After the Salsa presentations the Latin rounds started. My ballroom partner and I did much better in these than we had done in the morning; after a lot of shimmying and hip shaking we got to the semi-finals of rumba and samba and were in the finals for Cha cha and Jive 2-dance, placing 6th overall!
Medals aside it was a truly amazing day with such a fun group of people! Bring on the next one! ;)