UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society is a student oriented (no new members over 30), social dancing society, offering lessons, dance socials and other events to the UCT community. We believe that anyone can learn to dance – even if you think you have two left feet. Our Beginner class will guide you through the basics and help you find your rhythm! All skill levels Lessons range from Beginner Level to Pre-Bronze and beyond, so there are plenty of options – whether or not you have danced before. You don’t need a partner to join – we swap partners often, which means that you’ll get to meet, and learn to dance with, a variety of people – a useful social skill. Lots of classes Regular classes cover both Ballroom and Latin dances, such as the Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-cha and Jive. In the extra session we learn Salsa, Viennese Waltz, Argentine Tango and more! Social society In addition to lessons, members get regular opportunities to dance in a fun, relaxed environment at our fortnightly socials. These are a great place to try out your skills and get to know other members. Competitive aspect During the year we also participate in a friendly Intervarsity Competition with universities from around the country, and in the fourth term we host a spectacular formal dance. Stepping out onto the floor in a ballroom where everyone knows how to Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep is an experience not to be missed!
Classes are held in Molly Blackburn Hall (in front of Frigo Café) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5pm. No partner and no dancing shoes required! See you on the dance floor!
Conceived in the late 80s and active since 1988/89, UCT Ballroom was started by a dedicated group of students who wanted to create a community of social dancers. With the help of Maureen Shargey, who has been involved in the running and coaching of UCT Ballroom since its inception, the club grew tremendously and doubled its membership in its second year and again in its third.
Maureen has been teaching Ballroom and Latin dancing in Cape Town for close to 48 years, ‘helping people with two left feet to make one right’. Maureen officially retired ashead coach at UCT Ballroom in 2007 and left the society’s coaching in the very capablehands of IlianaIanovska, Bulgarian champion, coach and adjudicator who has beeninvolved in the society since 2003.Maureen retired completely at the end of last year. Previous UCT Ballroom committee member and owner of the John Hamman School of Ballroom Dance, John Hamman, has stepped in to take Maureen’s classes.
While the actual dance teaching is done by Iliana and John, the organization ofthe society isdone by the committee. The 2017 committee is UCT Ballroom’s 30thcommittee and the society would not exist without the time and dedication of thesevery special people. They are assisted by a variety of subcommittees. More help isalways appreciated and makes the UCT Ballroom experience that much morerewarding – so get involved as soon as you can!
In 1992, we started doing Medal Tests,with 92 dancers being tested in the firstyear. We have offered Medal Tests everyconsecutive year since then and haverecently enabled our senior dancers todo SADTA tests. All Medal Tests areadjudicated by accredited adjudicators orour own coaches and they have provedexceptionally helpful for the technique and confidence-building of the dancers.Due to society finances, Medal Testsused to define which dancers would beallowed to go to Intervarsity to representUCT. The society has workedexceptionally hard over the years so thatwe can subsidize every event that ourmembers attend, usually paying for halfof the costs of Intervarsity for eachdancer, so that whoever wants torepresent UCT on the dance floor hasthe opportunity to do so.
Later in 1992, we also entered our first everIntervarsity Competition hosted by Witswhere only UCT and Wits competed. Overthe years, the number of participatingtertiary institutions has fluctuated due tochanges of clubs from social to competitive.UCT, Maties, TUKS, NMMU, Wits andRhodes are now the main body of competing institutions, with UCT and Matieshaving the largest number of competitors in recentyears. We have won the competition 17 out of 25 times – help us win again!
We’ve always celebrated the year’s successes with an elegant Formal Ball. Our first Viennese Ball, as it was then called, was held in Jameson Hall in 1988 with 100 guests.The Balls remained Viennese-themed and in Jameson Hall for many years after that.The Viennese Balls had a massive Viennese flag suspended from the ceiling, people intraditional Austrian dress and guests were escorted to the Jammie Hall steps by horseand carriage. We slowly moved away from the Viennese theme. Other themes wereThe Emperor’s Palace (Chinese theme in 2009), Midnight and Moonshine (1920sspeakeasy theme in 2013), A Night in India (2011), Phantom of the Opera (2006) and the Hogwarts Yule Ball (2016).
Socials have also changed and evolved over the years, starting with only two per yearand now fortnightly during term time, increasing our dancing time (and fun)immensely. We also dance throughout the winter and summer vacations, onlystopping for 2 weeks over the festive season (that’s 50 weeks of dancing per year!).Many members of our society participate in extra-curricular dancing activities, such assokkies in the Northern Suburbs, Salsa and Lindy Hop sessions, so there is no limit tothe amount of dancing that you can do!
UCT Ballroom has always moved with the times. In 1994, our first edition of On the Ball was produced – UCT Ballroom’s annual magazine which tells you everythingthat you need to know about the society and its events for the coming year (this is the23rd edition – the thing you’re reading now!). As the Internet evolved, so did we andwe went through a series of websites. We communicate with our members via email,Facebook (like us!) and Twitter (follow us!) and we have our own YouTube Channel(subscribe!).
In 2013 we began a new event– the Showcaseof Ballroom and Latin Dancing.The 2013 committee came up with the idea to provide dancers with a platform where they could showcase what they have learnt throughout the year for friends and family members in a fun and professional way. The first showcase, Vaudeville Circus (2013), was a resounding success and so the showcase has become an annual tradition. The showcase usually runs for one or two nights to a sold out audience. Themes to date includethe Silverscreen Showcase (movies theme 2014), Around the World in 80 Minutes (2015) and Dancing through the Decades (2016).
UCT Ballroom is a society rich in tradition, sharing the love of social dance withinthe UCT community – be part of our family!
- Kathryn Luyt
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