History of Surrey BLDC
2017 - 2018
This year our team captain from 16/17 Lexie Constantinescu was elected in as president to take the team on another great year. After a committee shakeup new roles were introduced and the committee expanded from 8 to 12 to deal with how big the club is getting. We entered new friendlys, Southampton and Nottingham, whilst excelling at both SUDC and Blackpool competitions. We had to say goodbye to our technique coach Richard Miles, but had great fun learning from World Open Ballroom champions Michael and Nika. Thursday social dances got a makeover with new themes and activities. Strictly Come Surrey saw its 3rd amazing year, winning student run event of the year for the second time! BLDC ended the year on a high with an excellent gradsport friendly, and on top of that an end of year ball to celebrate.
This year saw Elise Meyer, who had spent the previous 2 years as a club signatory, take the mantle of President of BLDC. Over the summer of 2016, the club was lucky enough to receive a large grant from the University's Alumni Annual Fund which enabled the club to rework the wardrobe and bring in some amazing outfits! The competition season saw our 1st couple compete in the Advanced Ballroom category as well as some excellent Novice and Beginner results across all the various competitions. The coaching team expanded with Richard Miles coming in to take dedicated technique classes on a Wednesday, giving a spread of 5 different types of class on offer. The club added a 4th night a week to it's packed schedule with social practice sessions on a Thursday evening. And finally, Strictly Come Surrey returned for its 2nd outing and went far beyond expectations again! The event was broadcast live on Youtube and around campus, with an estimated audience of over 1000 people!
It was a crazy year, but there's more in store for 2017-18 so come on and join the BLDC ride, you won't regret it!
Wow what a year this was! Ben Cooper took the helm as President and oversaw a dramatic change in the fortunes of the club. This year was the first year that the club's Team Surrey budget was held at the Sports Park and saw the full integration into Team Surrey finally completed. Membership increased from high 30's of the last few years up to 70 paid members! We took record numbers to all the competitions, including over 40 dancers to both Blackpool and Bath; this was the first time a coach was needed for a club trip! Our stature within the Students' Union also greatly increased, mostly down to the magnificent success that was Strictly Come Surrey. The inaugural show raised £1300 for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and wowed everyone at the University. It saw the forging of a great relationship between Surrey BLDC, the Students' Union and the University staff for years to come. The year was rounded off again with a spectuclar performance at the Phyllis Tuckwell Strictly Dancing event where we perfomed our Viennese Waltz and 3 Dance Showcase from Strictly Come Surrey.
Rebecca Houghton became President this year and led Surrey BLDC to, arguably, its best ever year on the competition scene. The Bath Winter Friendly saw Ben & Lexie finish 1st or 2nd in all four Novice events, including a 1,2 finish alongside Max & Rebecca in the main Novice Latin event. The success continued for them with semi-finals at SUDC, 4th place in Ballroom at IVDC and 1st place in Gold Jive on the medallist circuit! The Team qualified yet again for Division A at IVDC which contiuned to show Surrey's progression over the last few years. The show season saw BLDC take part in Surrey Arts Live, Varsity and the Phyllis Tuckwell Strictly Dancing for the 3rd time with Jive and Paso Doble performances.
Michael takes charge again this year as President and continues to lead from the front. The club invests in some amazing new sunrise yellow dresses to match the colours of Team Surrey and creating matching team outfits, the only uni at IVDC to do so! This year saw a record number of dancers go to IVDC in Blackpool and they came back with some great results, the best of which were a Division A Quarter Final finish for our A-Team and the 5th place in Non-Acrobatic Rock'n'Roll for Marcus & Datchy with their 'Hawaiian Spirit' routine. 2014 also saw BLDC hold a Winter Ball in University Hall as well as take part in Varisty for the first time against the Kingston Cougars: a proud day for all our beginners who took part!
Fresh from competition success the previous year, Michael Stevens took the helm of the BLDC and, alongside a seven strong committee, and continued to build on the success for Team Surrey. Still partnering Lauren, they enter the Intermediate category and begin to show what Surrey BLDC can do at the higher levels. A beginner couple, Ben and Meriel, had a resounding year coming 4th in Jive at their very first competition and going on to claim 3rd at SUDC and 7th at IVDC. The strength of the show season continued to grow and the club had its first invite to the Phyllis Tuckwell Strictly Dancing charity event in June.
Team Surrey's was on the loose again and going for gold! Two of the most enthusiastic dancers, Michael and Lauren, made the final in every competition Surrey attended—and won in the Novice category at Blackpool! A committee headed up by Julia, Nicole and Elena ably took the club through numerous performances for the first time, including the university's international festival, while teachers Vicki and Fredric spearheaded our first attempt at competitive rock n' roll with Chris and Eleftheria reaching the finals at Blackpool too. All in all a very successful year!
Jess Lee became president in the first half of the year, leading a strong and fresh new committee which set the club on its way to better things! Kicking off with a major technical overhaul and a shiny new WordPress-powered website, and followed up that by recruiting more punters than the rugby club at Active Freshers' Fayre! Sadly Jess's final year overwhelmed her with work eventually and in February we elected a new President (Liz Lerew), Vice President (Abi Wilson) and two new Social Secs (Tamsin Harding and Julia Janikova).
Alex Rainer took charge, with Jess Lee (VP) and Lea Carrott (club secretary) assisting. Under the guidance of new teachers Vicki and Fredric Frennessen, the team saw reasonable successes on the competition circuit. Surrey B danced their way to a medallist's finish in the IVDC team match and we were all pretty chuffed with that!
While having to say goodbye to Vincent and Flavia with their new fame, the new committee of Catherine, Paul and Alex are excited to welcome fresh new teachers! The club sees Mal returning to teach the beginners class and are sure his enthusiasm for dance will be an inspiration to many!
BDS (Ballroom Dancing Society) becomes BLD (Ballroom & Latin Dancing) as the society is transformed to club status. 2 of our principal teachers, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, appear on "Strictly Come Dancing".
A year for old and new, a change in class structure and teachers is just the beginning of the plans for this year! With new blood alongside the wisdom and experience of 2 ex-presidents, the committee promises to deliver big things! The men are taking charge this year with Stuart at the helm, supported by Phil H, Lynn, Agneiszka, Irene and Nat... watch this space!
Sarah had the role of President this year and true to form for BDS presidents she did a sterling job, and was rewarded with president of the year at the 2005 USSU Students Awards. With the help of Caroline, Neil and Nate the club grew from strength to strength with a massive 60+ dancers at beginners classes! This is no mean feat and the top tuition from Tony had a lot to do with it. Comps and socials were plentiful and dancing was good. The year ended on a sad note with the departure of Tony as beginner teacher.
The club continued to grow under the watchful eye of Natalie. There was an addition of 2 classes a week, receiving a great consistent turnout throughout the year. We entered 6 competitions, bringing home too many trophies to count! The social side boomed as well with two fantastic balls and some great events throughout the year. To cap it off ALL of the committee won awards at Union Annual Awards (Nate, Rob, Sam and Natalie).
The winds of change came to Surrey and the club gained some new teachers - Tony, Vincent and Flavia. Lynn and Gemma had their turns in power, pushing the club forward with improved classes, socials and competitions, and a great committee (Nate, Hannah and Natalie) at the heart of it. The climax was 100 members in 2003 and President of the Year to Miss Gemma Pearce.
A lovely German gent named Steve Wesemeyer came to Surrey from Exeter and was appalled at the lack of ballroom dancing. So he got together with CampuSport to relight the dancing flame here at Surrey.
With Danusia and Lynn at the helm, the club ran a weekly lesson on a Wednesday with Mary Parker and occasionally the lovely Bill. The lessons were fun and mainly focussed on medal routines. Although occasionally, when numbers were down, it was a pint in Roots that won our attention.
The Ballroom Dancing Society (BDS) was formed before 1986, but we're not sure of the exact date...