DanceSport is the competitive face of Ballroom and Latin American dancing, as seen on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. You'll learn the same ten standard dances covered by our Ballroom and Latin classes, but here the emphasis is placed on correct technique, attractive presentation and competitive choreography rather than social figures.
All our DanceSport classes teach the International style rather than the American steps.
We have a range of DanceSport classes, catering for everyone from complete beginners through to advanced competitors. You do not have to compete to attend the classes; they are aimed at anyone who wants to improve their standard of dancing. If you're interested in taking medals tests, the classes can also help to prepare you for these, though medallist technique is not the main focus. Our DanceSport classes start by teaching good technique in the basic steps, and move on to more complicated choreography and styling at the higher levels.
The information in this section describes the kinds of classes we usually offer for DanceSport dancers. For more general details or the specifics for the current season, please see:
You can start DanceSport classes at any time, either as a beginner or after you have been dancing socially for some time. If you start DanceSport at a later stage than beginner, it is recommended that in order to 'grow into' the style and have the opportunity to pick up finer points of technique which you might have missed, that you start by attending the class below the highest level you reached in the Ballroom and Latin classes.
Many of our DanceSport classes are divided into Modern Ballroom and Latin American as separate disciplines. This reflects the competitive world in which both competitors and coaches often specialise in one branch or the other.
Our DanceSport Beginners classes are suitable for those who have never danced before but would like to learn detailed technique from the start. You will learn the basic steps of the waltz, quickstep, cha cha cha and jive, with emphasis on learning to do it 'properly' rather than purely socially. For complete beginners, we recommend taking these classes alongside any ballroom and latin beginners fast-track classes.
If you've completed a term of Ballroom Beginners classes and would like to start learning DanceSport, the DanceSport Beginners class is also suitable for you.
DanceSport Improvers is aimed at dancers who have completed a term of DanceSport Beginners. We recommend that you take the Ballroom and Latin Improvers fast-track classes as well.
For those comfortable with basic technique in waltz, quickstep, cha cha cha and jive, as taught in DanceSport Beginners and DanceSport Improvers, the next step is DanceSport Intermediates.
These classes continue to extend steps and technique in waltz, quickstep, cha cha cha and jive, and introduce the basic steps and technique of the other three dances in each discipline: tango, foxtrot and viennese waltz for modern; and rumba, samba and paso doble for latin.
Advanced classes move on to more advanced technique and popular competitive figures and groups in all ten dances. They are suited to dancers who are confident with the technique of the basic range of figures in each dance. This class will teach a broad range of figures in all dances, increasing the dancers' repertoire of choreography and introducing more challenging movements and timing.
This group training session is aimed at competitive dancers. It will focus on drilling basic technical concepts and considering other aspects of competitive preparation such as stamina training. Please bring trainers along with your dance shoes.
We also organise occasional workshops with visiting teachers. These usually take place on a weekend afternoon and often cover material more advanced than our weekly classes. We have been privileged to count among our guest teachers some of the top couples in the UK and several world professional finalists, including: Matthew and Nicole Cutler, Chris Hawkins and Hazel Newberry, Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova, Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova, Karen Hardy, and Victor Fung and Anna Mikhed. More recently, we have organised weekend workshops with Richard Still and Morgan Hemphill; and we plan to host more workshops with them in the future.
For members who want some more time and space to practise their dancing, we offer DanceSport Practice sessions for individual practice. Such a session might be designated either for Modern/Standard Ballroom, Latin American or be left unspecified. The designated Ballroom or Latin DanceSport practices are run by the DanceSport Team (CUDT). The unspecified practices are split half Modern Ballroom and half Latin American in terms of preference of the music played. In each half there will be a time designated for run throughs in the form of a 5 dance final. Please note that there are no teachers present at these practices.
We sometimes also run practice sessions specifically for beginners, usually with some more experienced dancers around to help if you get stuck. Please note that there is no formal tuition at these beginners' practice sessions: they are intended to supplement classes rather than replace them. The early part of our free General Dancing session on Fridays is particularly suitable for beginners.
For members who need teaching beyond what our regular classes can offer, we also organise private lessons with many of our teachers. Most lessons take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays during the main competitive season and most teachers book in either 45 or 60 minute slots.
Private lessons do cost a lot more than our regular classes, with prices varying depending on length and teacher; so they aren't for everyone. Of course, you do get the full attention of your teacher for just you and your partner during the lesson; so, for competitive couples trying to improve as fast as possible, they are pretty much essential.
We regret that we do not have the resources to provide private lessons to non-members. Nor can we accept new members who only wish to take private lessons; for example, in the run up to a wedding. However, there are other local teachers who can help in such situations. See some examples on our links page.
CDC also supports a DanceSport Team made up of 16 student couples who represent Cambridge University at student competitions. There is also a Beginners DanceSport Team. Information about the team's activities and how to join can be found on the DanceSport Team pages or CUDT website.
There are two options to compete in the UK: the university circuit, for students and ex-students; and the open circuit, which is open for everyone. If you are a student and interested in competing, please contact our team captains. If you are interested in competing on the open circuit, please contact dancesport-cdc.
We run two friendly competitions of our own each year: the DanceSport Team Reunion Match (usually in November, just before the main inter-university competition season starts) and Cuppers (usually around Easter time and including the annual inter-college team match). These are open to all CDC members and include lots of open categories, at levels from beginners to advanced, as well as the main team match events. For more information please contact the team captains.
For those willing to travel to the larger competitions, student or ex-student members of CDC can enter the opens at most inter-university competitions on the university circuit, even if they are not members of the DanceSport Team. Both student and non-student couples, at all levels from beginner to advanced, can enter most competitions on the open circuit. We also have several non-student couples (and a few really keen students!) who enter amateur competitions on the open circuit. If you wish to enter open circuit competitions above beginner level, you have to register with the British Dance Council. For more information please contact dancesport-cdc.
And, of course, there is the annual DanceSport Varsity Match against the Other Place.