Sunday, November 18, 2012

Freeze the Floor Semi-Formal

When we walked into Jammie Hall on the Saturday afternoon to set up, instead of a beautifully clean, empty hall waiting to be decorated, we were met with a hall full of pot plants and rows of chairs. The look was more tropical conference than arctic dance floor. My heart nearly stopped when I thought the venue had been double booked, but luckily the other event was already over. Not so luckily, we were left with packing everything up. If there's one thing social dancing teaches us, it's to be flexible, and we managed to use the chairs to our advantage and stacked them in the corners to form the basis for icebergs. Toss over some boxes, cover with white drapes, bake under blue light, and – voila! A huge thank you to everyone who helped transform the hall in record time – old comm, new comm and eager beavers. A special thanks to those who risked their lives balancing on stacks of chairs or climbing up balconies, and to Bryce for lending an expert hand, and eye.


The end result turned out even better than I had hoped for, with the smoke machine really finishing things off nicely to set a frosty scene. Of course, the real success was in the terrific turnout, with everything from Cossacks to Snow Queens on the dance floor. There were even reported sightings of a Siberian tiger. It really was a frostacular frozen fantasy!

To those of you who couldn't make it – you missed out on some fantastic food and scrumptious sweets such as a white chocolate fountain, coconut ice, meringues, and my own soon-to-be famous (I hope) cupcakes! Our specially developed blue punch was a huge hit, giving people frostbitten-looking blue mouths.

Thanks to Anton for manning the “photo booth” – check out his awesome photos from the semi-formal on our new Facebook events group. While you're at it, make sure you join the group so that you can get invited to future events. Unfortunately this was the last event of the year, but hopefully the new committee has wowed you with our super-cool party hosting skills, and you're all looking forward to next year's events as much as I am!

                                              -      Liesbeth Gouws (socials Co-ordinator 2013)

Photos: Anton Moisey

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Madame Tussaud's Social

Did you know that Madame Tussaud’s has been around for over two hundred years?

Dance Spice
Considering that, it was bound to make an appearance as the theme of a UCT Ballroom social at some point – and what a splendid appearance that was. Thanks again to Bryce’s visionary use of drapes and boxes (not to mention many, many (!) movie posters), Molly Blackburn became the travelling circus of famous artists and personalities that has enthralled all comers since the 1800s.

Beyonce and Ringo Starr
As the evening got underway, a wide variety of characters took the opportunity to get to know one another; the Spice Girls (more or less) scattered upon entry and met a Beatle, Ron Burgundy himself (what a lad!) and even briefly jived with a gorilla, who for his species was particularly well co-ordinated.

The jiving gorilla

Freddie Mercury’s “Don’t Stop Me  Now” elicited a full-floor takeover by one couple (the gathered crowd eagerly stopped to watch) after which several shots of our two Michael Jacksons were taken in the mandatory poses to the tune of “Black or White”.

Once the music wound down to the last waltz, it was time for everyone to head back to their own home towns (and times!) with pleasant memories of an evening dancing with the best company the last fifty years have had to offer – in the words of George Gershwin, “who could ask for anything more?”

Britney x2 and a Michael
Photos by Anton Moisey

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Freeze the Floor - Semi-Formal

Ice, ice, baby!

Twice a year UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society glams a social up by adding food and drink (non-alcoholic), dressing up a tad smarter, and calling it a semi-formal. The theme for this semester's semi-formal is Freeze the Floor: a Frostacular Frozen Fantasy! It will be the first event organised by the new committee, as well as the last event of the year, so make sure you don't miss this super-cool social!

We've planned some tasty sweet treats: a white chocolate fountain, coconut ice, and cupcakes are just the tip of the iceberg! There will also be plenty of savoury delights for both carnivores and herbivores. Peter and Laura even spent a few hours in a secret lab inventing a fantastic blue punch especially for the occasion – and I can assure you it is delicious!

Stuck for what to wear? Take some inspiration from creatures that live at the poles: penguins (guys, this will be really easy for you, just wear a suit), polar bears (all-white), narwals...eskimos! You could also dress in icy cold blue. Of course if you don't have anything sub-zero to wear, don't let that be an excuse not to come.

If anyone wants to help make the magic, we'll be setting up from 5pm and any assistance will be very much appreciated!

Where: Jammie Hall
When: Saturday 13 October
Time: 8pm-12pm
Cost: R30 members, R40 non-members

Tickets will be sold in class and at the door.

So bring your happy feet and come and break the ice with your new comm!

The ice theme was inspired by Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign. You can find out more about their campaign to prevent oil drilling in the Arctic here

- Liesbeth Gouws

Monday, October 1, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

Once Upon a Time, 
in a land far, far away, there was a Ballroom Social. Messengers went from city to city, house to house, making this event known to all as a mystical gathering of fairy-tale characters who came from far and wide for an evening of merriment.

With the stage set, castle in the background and all, the dancing began in earnest. Esmerelda met the Cheshire Cat, Aladdin introduced himself to Sleeping Beauty, a passing pirate danced with Batman and a local piper displayed a magnificent sokkie whenever he could. While these events of legend continued, a story-book was set up next to the sound system and the tale of the Once Upon a Time social was written by those characters passing by.

As the evening drew to a close, and the dancers faded away back to their day-to-day lives, a final piece of magic was worked by the dedicated Comm. to turn Bryce's vision back into Molly Blackburn Hall.

This fairy-tale was a splendid way to lead up to the Formal, and what a wondrous social it was - The End.

Written by Peter Beare
PR Manager 2013

Photos by Anton Moisey

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society Takes Gold!

a U! a U! a UCT!!!!!!! THE WINNING TEAM!

Intervarsity (the annual South African National Student Ballroom and Latin-American Dance Competition - ooh, how fancy it sounds!) is always the biggest event of the year for UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society. This year, the competition was hosted by Tuks on Saturday 11 August. After six months of training (and only six months of dancing for the beginners), the team of 70 dancers hopped onto an Intercape Sleepliner (aah comfy!), singing cheers, eating junk food and watching dancing movies. After over twenty hours of bus games and bonding, we collapsed onto our beds in Pretoria on Friday night for an hour or two before the social.

Dominic Nunes and Wendy Stephenson waltz
 to victory in the Silver Ballroom Section
Tuks' theme for Intervarsity was "The Phantom of the Opera" and their 'black and white' social was in keeping with the theme when each dancer was given a mask. These masks were used as an ice breaker game - "ladies ask a man from a different university, with a mask that is a different colour from yours, for a jive", although peripheral vision is somewhat skewed when wearing a mask, as we learnt, and so is finding people...The social was thoroughly enjoyable and served as a way for the dancers from the different universities to meet, assess the competition and to get in some last minute practise.
Angela Boroughs and Vaughan Moss
doing a 'surprise Tango'

When Saturday morning arrived, despite our fatigue, we were ready to dance our hearts out to maintain our title as the winning university (15 out of 21 competitions!). UCT competed in 23 sections, including Beginners’ to Novice-level Ballroom and Latin, Viennese Waltz, Sokkie, Paso Dob, Mambo, Boogie, Same-Sex Cha-cha (oh the outfits!) and a 'surprise Tango' in which the gentlemen were blindfolded. UCT also competed in the Formation and Team Dance Sections. The Formation Dance is a choreographed group dance, while the Team Dance is an event in which each university enters eight couples who each perform a different dance, but are scored as a team. This year's UCT formation dance was a Paso Dob-based Latin combination dance to the music of Georges Bizet's Carmen. UCT came third for Formation with Maties taking second place and Tuks in well-deserved first.

UCT's Formation Group Dance - A Paso Doblé

Despite the fierce competition from Stellenbosch, Tuks, NMMU, NWU, Rhodes and Wits, UCT won 21 medals – 9 Gold, 7 Silver and 5 Bronze. UCT also waltzed off with the Team Dance Shield, the Spirit Trophy and the Overall Trophy, winning the competition with 140 points, with Maties achieving second place (108 points) and Tuks coming in third (81 points).
The winning snowman!

Our friends from Maties ended the day on a high when they flocked towards us as the awards ceremony came to a close, chanting "a U! a U! a U, C, T!" and we chanted back with "Maties jou lekker ding!" We knew that the day had been worth all of the sweat, excitement and nerves.

After all of the dancing and cheering, we then piled ourselves, our medals and our trophies back onto the bus (with far less energy) and (most of us) slept our way back to Cape Town, with a bit of snow along the way.

Intervarsity is by far the biggest bonding and learning experience, and probably the most memorable event of the UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society calendar. We would like to say a huge thank you to Tuks for organizing such a fantastic competition, our competitors for being such great sports, our committee for organizing such a smooth Intervarsity and our Intervarsity Team for succeeding in their first profession - win, win, win, win!

The winning Team Dance
From L-R: Francisco Agostinho and Nomusa Mavimbela (Jive), Richard Parry and Thandeka Cochrane (Rumba), Tebo Cochrane and Priscilla Chauke (Cha-cha), Chris Garrard and Clare Garrard (Samba), William Wu and Zulfa Martin (Quickstep), Irenee Kaminuza and Ncediwe Mdlulwa (Rhythm Foxtrot), Jared Baboo and Gibwa Cole (Tango) and Nathanael Sargeant and Maxine Van Der Schyff (Waltz).

Photos by Arran Graham and Nick Heins

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Intervarsity Couture: How to look amazing in 10 easy steps

Darlings! <kisses cheeks> So fabulous to see you all again! What's that? You don't know what to wear for Intervarsity?! Your friendly blogging fashionista is back to make sure that you look dashing on the dance floor!


Just follow these 10 easy steps!


step 1: 
Alan and Anique in red and white
Have neat hair that is tied up if it is long. Hair should not be in your face or obscuring your vision. Girls with rather long hair - be kind to your partners and do your hair up in a bun (the ponytail whip is quite disconcerting). Gel is your friend and so is hairspray.

step 2:  
Keep the make-up to a minimum. Absolutely no make up for men (sorry). Ladies may have base that is close to your natural shade, blusher, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick (that is not too bright) and almost-invisible eyeshadow (black and other dark colours are out). Your make-up should not be visible when you're on the dance floor. No fake eyelashes. No glitter or sparkles of any sort. No stage make-up or face paint.

Lucy and Bertus in matching blue
step 3:  
Ballroom and Latin Dancing require that each couple consists of one gentleman and one lady. For this purpose, gentlemen must wear black trousers and ladies must wear a skirt or a dress (no shorts or long pants). This is rather sexist. But that's the way it is.

step 4:  
Footwear should be sensible and danceable. Better yet, wear dancing shoes. Gents should have simple men's lace-up Ballroom shoes with suede soles and a lower heel (not men's Latin shoes...unless you're dancing at a higher level in the Latin section). Ladies should have 2-2.5 inch Latin shoes - these can be open or closed-toe, any design or colour provided that they don't have sequins on them and that they have suede soles. If you don't own dancing shoes, plain black formal lace-ups will do for the guys (no sports shoes) and pumps or heels that are well secured will work for the ladies.

step 5: 
Dane and Odette take the floor in elegant green
Colour is your friend. Not for gents - black and white are your friends. Guys, your options are: long sleeved black or white shirt for Latin, long sleeved white shirt for Ballroom (which remains neatly tucked into your trousers at all times), black tie/bowtie or a tie in a solid colour (for Latin) that matches your partner's dress (or no tie/bowtie for Latin), black formal pants (no denim!) and black shoes with black socks (MJ has passed and so has his white-socks-black-shoes look). Simple cufflinks and black cummerbunds are optional. Ladies on the other hand may wear whatever colour (except for flesh-it's a hideous colour and you'll look like you're not wearing anything...nuff said!), as long as it is a solid colour with no embellishments.

Tebo in the white-shirt-black-tie Ballroom look
step 6:  
Less is that is. Gents: Plain shirt, plain pants, plain tie/bowtie, plain socks, plain shoes, plain black's quite simple to look dashing - plain is the plan. No pattern, sparkles, diamante, sequins or over the top decorations for gents or ladies. Ladies, wear a plain dress in a solid colour or a plain skirt in a solid colour and a plain top in a different solid colour. No stripes or polka dots (those are so last Medal Tests season).

step 7: 
Do: Wear clothes (and underwear). This is non-negotiable (and should not be visible). Don't: Have more skin showing than necessary. Ladies, if your rear end is visible (however bootylicious it may be), you will be disqualified. And by that I mean, for the love of dancing, please wear hotpants! It doesn't matter how little you believe your dress will flare when you spin, wear hotpants! Hotpants should either be black or match your dress/skirt. The fashionista has spoken. Dresses like to flare especially when you're not wearing appropriate underwear (they're temperamental like that). The same goes for the chest area - keep those puppies indoors. By that I mean, for the love of jiving, wear a secure brassiere and a top/dress that doesn't cause you to fall out. This will not gain you more points with the judges (public indecency is a crime) and it might distract your partner ;)

Dom and Lani sokkieing in black and white
step 8:  
Show off your lovely legs! (Ladies only) If you're feeling suitably tanned this winter (please don't go and get an orange spray tan...elgh!), go for the bear leg look and show off those shapely pegs, alternatively, if you're a pale princess, you can opt for sheer tights in a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone. Black tights are also an option as are little white socks, but stripper fishnet stockings are out. Your hemline should be just above the knee for Latin and on or just below the knee for ballroom. Your dress/skirt must have a straight hem (no jagged edges, points etc.) and you need to be able to stretch in it (it should have some flare and be made of a heavy stretchy material).

step 9: 
Diamonds are a girl's most distracting friend. If I've said it once, I've said it quite a few times...No sparkles! No diamante! No Swarovski Crystals! No sequins! No glitter! Not on your outfit, your face, in your hair around your neck, ankle or wrist. That means, no jewellery (except for simple, non-sparkly stud earrings - no chandeliers or pincushions please)
Nick and Wendy boogie with a smile and a dash of orange!

step 10: 
"You're never fully dressed without a smile!" Just like the song says, your outfit won't be complete unless you remember to flash those pearly whites and look like you're having fun!

If you follow these 10 easy steps, you will be well on your way to owning that Intervarsity dance floor!

Feel free to ask a comm member for dancing fashion advice: bring us your outfits for our expert dancewear opinions.

Photos: Arran Graham

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Medal Tests 2012 Beginners

Stefano and Lauren prepare for their Waltz

Julie and Neil strike a pose
Our Beginners did so brilliantly in the recent Medal Tests, where the danced the Waltz, Rhythm Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Jive and Boogie! They all received glowing comments from the very impressed adjudicators and walked away with a brightly-coloured polka dot certificate!

Having been a part of UCT Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society for only a few months, our Beginners showed just what they were made of when they were brave enough to step onto the floor of Jammie Hall to show off their newly-learnt skills in front of their friends, family and adjudicators - eek!

Jade and Allister ready to dance!
Eden and Joshua do a New Yorker
After hours of classes, extra Sunday practises and a Polka Dot-themed social the night before to calm those pre-Medal Test jitters, they were ready! They proved that a bit of practise, a lot of love and a tremendous amount of fun can turn a test into a pleasant experience, and, they've proved that they are more than ready for this year's National Student Ballroom and Latin Dance Championships (aka Intervarsity)!

To all of our Beginners who were brave enough to do their Medal Tests, a huge well done! You all have fantastic potential and we are sure that you will do brilliantly at Intervarsity. Go UCT!

If you haven't signed up for Intervarsity yet, tomorrow is your last chance! 

Check out the photos from Medal Tests on our Facebook page - Photos by Nick Heins