CUDT compete as part of the university Dancesport circuit, attending between 4 and 7 external competitions each year. Competing is the driving force for our squad, and our beginners will get their first taste of competitive Dancesport only a few weeks into their first term. While our two main competitions are Nationals (IVDC) in February, and Varsity against Oxford in May, we attend a number of competitions of different scales throughout the year.

Usually we have an “in house” competition during Michaelmas, and 4 other compulsory competitions where dancers from First Team, Second Team and Beginners compete against other universities. This year, following the cancellation of last year’s normal competitions, we aren’t completely certain what will go ahead – but the schedule of what we aim to attend will be updated as the year goes on.

​We say ‘compulsory’ as a means of motivating people to attend – competitions can seem like a big challenge, and this may be off-putting, so we take this decision out of your hands! 😉 Every single dancer will be capable of giving each competition throughout the year a great effort, and you will have been given the skills to succeed. They’re also fantastic fun. But don’t panic! If a medical, family or other issue does occur which prevents you taking part in a competition, we don’t penalise you.

A rough guide of what we would usually attend is set out below. For this year, we’re as excited as you are to be getting back onto the competitions circuit!

A note on COVID-19

The majority of competitions held in 2021-22 will have some form of COVID safety measures in place. Details on these will be explicitly explained as we find them out! For many, expect to need to present a negative COVID test result (PCR or LFT) either on the door, or to your captains beforehand. This could be a picture of the negative test, or an email confirming the negative test result.

CUDT Old Team, New Team (OTNT): November 13th 2021


The first CUDT Reunion Match (Old Team New Team) was held in Wolfson College in 1998. In the early days, the Reunion Match took the form of a series of one dance competitions in the team dances of Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and Jive only, with couples from the current team scoring points against a team of alumni couples. The Old Team won the inaugural match. Since then, the friendly competition has expanded and in 2019 over 50 couples competed in the event, with the team match changing shape to echo the format of the IVDC team match and teams being formed to encourage alumni, current team members and beginners to meet. This is often the first chance that new partnerships for the year get to dance and show the progress they have made in the first weeks of term.

This is the first internal competition of the year designed as a risk free environment to test out what you have learnt so far this year before putting yourself up against the wider world of dancesport varsity.

​It is quite the unique experience to go from dancing amongst beginners in one round to dancing amongst the more experienced in the open rounds. 

​This is a compulsory event for beginners, if you a unable to attend for whatever reason (e.g. Saturday lectures), please get in touch.

COVID safety for OTNT: all competitors and spectators are expected to present a negative COVID test result from the prior 48h. Photos of test-at-home LFTs, or email confirmations showing the results and test date will be acceptable. These will be checked upon entry.

The Nottingham Varsity Event: November 28th 2021

Nottingham University

In the 1980s the White Rose Competition, an open circuit competition held at Nottingham University, started to hold a university team match as a highlight of the evening’s proceedings. As the number of student couples participating increased significantly, the whole event eventually became an intervarsity competition. This is usually the first external competition of the university Dancesport year that CUDT attends, so is often the first experience many of our dancers have of an intervarsity Dancesport competition.

UEA Friendly: January​ 29th 2022

University of East Anglia

This competition is the first once for dancers coming off their Christmas break and is a great way to warm up to a crazy term of classes and competitions!​

Many of us love this competition due to the fact that it is only a short bus ride, meaning we can afford to lie in for a bit longer than usual.

The Southern Universities Dancesport Competition (SUDC) February 12th 2022

Southern Regional UK university; last held in Farnborough

The universities of the south of England and Wales, (traditionally, those south of Coventry) compete at the annual SUDC, known by some as the regionals and for many the final competition preparation for the university nationals. Universities bid to host the SUDC and so the event moves around the South; Cambridge last hosted in 2010. The SUDC sees the first appearance of the Offbeat competition, a team showdance style competition. 

This competition will be optional for the 2021-22 competitive season.

The Inter-Varsity Dance Competition (IVDC): February 26th 2022


The IVDC has been held annually since 1960 and is the national competition for university dancers. The event has grown rapidly in recent years and in 2015, over 700 couples entered for the open events. University societies bid to host the event and for its first 45 years the event moved around the country. In 2005, it was held for the first time at Blackpool’s historic Winter Gardens, the home of competitive ballroom dance in the UK. Every IVDC since 2007 has been held here.

Like most university competitions, the morning and afternoon sessions consist of open competitions at levels from beginner to advanced, including same sex. The standard of competition is high and the winners of the 2012 Advanced Ballroom went onto win the British National Amateur Championship in the same year. The evening session contains the highlight of the day, the team match, in which teams of four couples represent their universities. As of 2021, CUDT have won the overall team trophy for 10 consecutive years.

The Cambridge vs Oxford Varsity Match: May (TBC)

The first Oxford vs Cambridge Varsity Match in ballroom dance was held in 1973 and since then, the event has been held annually, the hosts alternating between the two universities. The event is unique to the university Dancesport circuit as all couples in the team need to dance all four of Waltz, Quickstep, Cha-cha-cha and Jive. Although the 2020 event was postponed, Cambridge have won the Varsity match for 10 consecutive years. 

The Varsity Match is viewed by the universities as a competition to rival the nationals in its prestige and both universities award Blues to dancers in the event. The 2015 match saw the first award of a Full Blue to a Cambridge man, thirteen years after the first Cambridge woman received a Full Blue, meaning both sexes from both universities have now been awarded Full Blues for representing their university at this event.

Other Competitions

In addition to these, we have other internal events such as Cuppers (6th March 2022), an informal college vs college dance-off in Lent term, and from time to time, other events have been scheduled such as competitions against Imperial College (the Liger competition), and the Stars of the Future competition.

If you’re a member of another university dance team reading this, get in touch at – we’re always game for more competitions!

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