After the launch of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, the number of under 16s dusting off their dancing shoes to try out Ballroom and Latin American dance has hugely increased, according to the President of the British Dance Council. With the help of the most glamorous show to ever grace our screens and the immense celebrity presence, Ballroom dancing has shimmied its way into the 21st century, leaving its old-fashioned reputation behind.
Five Star’s series, Baby Ballroom, has delved deeper into the world of Ballroom dancing to reveal what it takes to become as good as, if not better than, Strictly’s talented professionals. Whether after watching the series you were left feeling utterly horrified at the sight of fourteen year olds dressed up to look in their twenties, or wonderstruck by the immense skill and hard work of such young children, you have to admit it was an amazing eye-opener into a world very few of us know much about.
One thing that truly stands out are the dynamic partnerships that are essential to Ballroom and Latin dancing. Watching two strangers’ relationship blossom into a supportive and fun-loving friendship was adorable. It truly highlights the importance of a strong bond between partners to ensure a show-stopper performance on the dancefloor. It is this bond that makes UEA Dancesport such an incredible club to be a part of. However, being cute will only get you so far and their angelic smiles have to be backed up with some high standard dancing – and the Ballroom beginners never fail to impress. You can’t help but watch in awe as children as young as eight years old grace the dancefloor with skill superior to those even double their age could only dream of.
The Ballroom world, however, is an extreme of highs and lows. There is no doubt that these children have fierce determination and tremendous talent, but it’s not always enough to cha-cha-charm the adjudicators. There is no greater feeling than when your number gets called out – something I’m sure all of our UEA Dancesport members can relate to – but it doesn’t always go your way. These dance soldiers march onto the Ballroom battlefield with the aim to win. It makes all their hard work and dedication worthwhile. But at such a young age, they also have to prepare themselves for disappointment. Luckily for us, we have our amazing team to support us through this rollercoaster ride, as rivalry on the floor only enhances our great friendship and team spirit off the floor.
If anything, baby ballroom teaches these children a vast set of life skills, whether they make it as the next world champions or just keep dancing for the love of it. They have a passion and dedication towards an end goal and heaps of motivation to pursue it. Even though twelve hours of rehearsals a week does sound daunting, it beats sitting at home playing on an Xbox anytime. For us at UEA, it is a vibrant community, a platform to make new friends for life and a welcoming escape from the library. Our club caters for all skill sets, whether a complete beginner or a seasoned professional, and we cannot wait to meet our very own new baby Ballroomers in September.
Written by Rachel Holmes