Dance society revels in far-reaching appeal

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Dance is something that we all do, whether dancing at parties, awkward dad dancing or serious dancing such as ballet and ballroom. Dance Society at St Andrews embraces that universal nature of dance as a concept with classes for beginners, intermediates and advanced across all four years of students at the University, Postgraduates and even the occasional Professor! They specialise in traditionally ‘Western’ forms of Dance such as Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary and Lyrical with over 20 sessions a week with no auditions which makes it really accessible. It’s accessibility and general friendly feel makes it incredibly appealing to all students and offers an alternative workout to the traditional going to the gym. This is clear when you look at the numbers of students at the rehearsals organised by Steph Uhlmann and the rest of the DanceSoc team, with over 80 at the give-it-a-go session during Freshers week and most classes have around 25 participants. It provides a good way for students across the University to get to know each other and have a good time and there are no restrictions on participation from students of all backgrounds, abilities and builds.

In addition to the actual dancing, DanceSoc, like most Sports clubs at the University have their fair share of socials. They have Sinners, non-drinking socials and then they also do a Christmas dinner and this is again open to all those who attend the rehearsals and also those who do not. Everyone is welcome at DanceSoc!

Progression has been relatively consistent for DanceSoc with around 335 members of the society last year with them aiming to take it around 350 for this year and they have big plans for building the society up this year. One of the main aims for Steph and her team is to integrate all of the different dancing societies within the University. There are individual societies for Salsa, Ballroom, Zumba, Burlesque, Bellydance (all are part of ShimmySoc) and Swing and the overarching aim is to bring these societies together and have more cross-over events and on the whole create a bigger and better Dance Community. The other major aim is to continue a community outreach programme that began last year with teaching in schools. This is a good way to interact with the local community and give something back to the local people in St Andrews.

For those of you questioning how intense and serious Dance really is, then you need to look at the Blue Angels. The Blue Angels are the University’s competitive dance team with three teams and now around 40 members following this year’s introduction of a Hip-Hop team. This is audition based to get into the team and has four practices a week and it does have a distinctly competitive side. They regularly enter competitions with other Universities across the UK and consistently do well – almost always coming away with a first in at least one category for their endeavours. This last year saw them compete in the World Championships in Italy with over 40 countries represented and placed first in two different categories. This year with a new team they aim to continue to grow and are always looking for new members so if you are interested in dancing competitively and want to get involved then get in touch with the leader Cassandra Cook and there may well be more openings to compete this year in competitions. As much as some may sneer, Dance is a serious sport and is a big part of life at St Andrews and is only going to grow in the coming years – so get involved!

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