Label volunteer, Millie Preston, went along to the 15th annual Loughborough University Dance Competition held on 11th and 12th March 2023. She reports on the styles of dance performed, the star-studded judging panel, and the stand out performances.

Last month saw the return of the UK’s largest university – and arguably most high-profile – dance competition, hosted by Loughborough University. The weekend was packed with fun, fantastic dancing, and a host of different activities for dancers and spectators alike to enjoy.

The weekend kicked off with beautiful ballet dances and a special shout-out is necessary to Loughborough Advanced Ballet who danced to ‘Vogue’ by Madonna – music not usually associated with the ballet world but worked tremendously and set the tone for a weekend full of unique performances.

Saturday also featured special performances in Tap, Jazz and Lyrical with Plymouth bringing a fiery performance to the tune ‘Seven Nation Army’ in advanced tap.

The competition was held in Sir David Wallace sports hall, a venue situated next to Shirley Pearce Square which provided plenty of outside space for local businesses, such as ‘Lboro Vintage’ (a local vintage clothing store) to run stalls for dancers and spectators to explore during the breaks in the schedule.

Saturday evening was brought to an end by spectacular performances in the ‘Wildcard’ category: the University of Nottingham impressed with their incorporation of a variety of different costume choices and the combination of both hip hop and contemporary dance styles in their performance but it was Loughborough University who stole the show in the wildcard category, with their visually immersive and stylistically challenging performance.

The competition recommenced on Sunday morning and followed a similar schedule but varied in dance styles with categories including commercial, contemporary, Latin and ballroom and hip hop.

Several workshops were also held on both days and the final awards ceremony of the week took place on Sunday evening. Big winners of the weekend were Loughborough University with 5 overall first place wins and 3 separate third place wins, followed by the University of Bath and the University of Nottingham each with 2 overall wins.

The judging panel was also populated by dancing talent – Jared Hageman, Sasha Woodward, Nikita Kuzmin (who also led a very successful workshop), Morgan Plom and Francesca Velicu. The panel was enthusiastic and professional in their critiquing skills.

The talent of the judges is certainly not to go unmentioned:  Hageman worked as associate choreographer for Harry Styles’s music video of the iconic tune ‘Treat People with Kindness’ and Kuzmin currently stars in BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ as a professional partner to the stars.

Overall, the weekend was a great success with special credit given to the competitors, the participating Universities, the judging panel and the competition co-ordinator, Abbie Bates, LSDC and the many volunteers without whom the weekend wouldn’t have been possible.

Edited by: Jasmine Trapnell (Sports Editor)

Designed by: Sarim Mangi (Head of Design)

Photography by: Felix Cross (Lens Volunteer)


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