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Cliff Notes May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2

Cha-Cha Challenge


This is not your grandma’s ballroom dancing. It is a blend of athleticism, three-inch heels and sequins. With an undefeated record last year, the UCSD Dancesport team is lending credit to this sport. The cha-cha is a sport? Don’t let the rhinestones and bright smiles fool you—this is hard work. UCSD Dancesport team may have started from humble beginnings as a recreational club in 1989, but today it is the largest club sport on campus, with over 150 team members.

Within competitions, there are a variety of styles and levels. The formation team is a group of eight couples doing a choreographed routine in unison. The routine incorporates several dances such as samba, jive, rumba, paso doble and cha-cha. Last January, UCSD’s formation team won first place at the Intercontinental Collegiate Championship in Dayton Beach, Fla., with an “Evita”-themed routine. They were able to beat longtime rival BYU-Idaho, a university that has a major in ballroom dance. Throughout the competition season, the formation team sashayed their way to the number one spot, never losing a single meet.

The individual couple events are the other side of competition and allow for more spontaneity and creativity. Unlike the group practice schedule of the formation team, individual couples must work with a coach or other dance professional to develop choreography on their own. In the finals during the past season, UCSD was usually represented by five out of the six couples on the floor.

One of the keys to good dancing is making it look effortless, hours of intense practice go into the competitions. Female dancers remain serenely dazzling as they cha-cha in three-inch heels, but the footwear is not without its drawbacks. Like ballet dancers, they have blisters and bloody toes. “It is art, but it is also a sport,” coach Peter Edwards says. “My kids come out of practice sweaty and tired just as much as the guys playing basketball.”

To see the team in action, check out the first match of the season at the “Day by the Shores” at the Main Gym on March 5. This will be the 10th anniversary of this home event, so look for the special professional’s showcase after the competitions. For more information, please visit http://recadmin. ucsd.edu/sports/teams/dancesport.

Contributors to Cliff Notes:
Karla Devries, '04
Evelyn Hsieh, '05
Jessica Megill, '05
Darren Posey, '05


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