Dance sport hits the floors at UCT

28 August 2006

Shaking things up: Since breaking away from the Ballroom Society, the UCT Dance Sports Club has been thriving.

It's been almost a year now since the Dance Sport Club came into being, formerly part of the UCT Ballroom Society.

According to founder, Thembalethu Zintwana, the main difference between the two groups is that the ballroom society, while members do compete occasionally, sees dancing more as a social pastime.

In contrast, the dance sport club started because, says Zintwana, "we wanted to concentrate solely on competing, and we have succeeded in doing that because we get our dancers into these competitions and our couples are always among the finalists".

Apparently, students enjoy the thrill of competition - the club has had a very good turnout and now boasts 138 dancers. It's overseen by an executive committee of nine members, all competitive dancers.

The mission of the club so far has been to establish a competitive cohort of athletes. Classes are open to people who are dancers, who are then trained and go out to compete. Some even come to the classes with no previous experience whatsoever and are put through a beginner's class to introduce them to dancing as a sport.

"What we are trying to achieve is good dance athletes, and we strive to achieve that all the time during practice," says Robin Bentele, Zintwana's dance partner and also a committee member.

The club has had its naysayers, says Zintwana. There were those who thought that the group would be redundant "because there are many clubs doing what we do".

But the split from the Ballroom Society, pledges Zintwana, went smoothly and without acrimony. "The Ballroom Society did not react negatively to our branching of; we were all professional about it because we all dance for the love of the sport."

The club offers many options for dancers, covering hip-hop, funk, ballroom dancing and Latin American.

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