When I moved to England in September, I shocked and awed a little British school boy when he heard my accent. ‘Did you hear that?’ he asked one of his friends. ‘Her accent was American!’ It’s still one of my favorite living abroad moments. Well, since Thursday, there’s been one more American accent in Oxford. Mom is currently visiting me through the beginning of next week (and the weather is perfect. Not.). We’ve already had quite the action-packed schedule. One of my medievalist friends, Hannah, took all of the medievalists to formal hall at her college, Worcester, and Mom was able to tag along for her first formal dinner, complete with a roast pork belly with ginger and rhubarb compote.
Over the weekend, Mom attended both of my ballroom competitions. Yes, that’s right – I had one competition on Saturday and one on Sunday. Needless to say, I never want to put gel in my hair again. The competition on Sunday was the 39th Varsity match between Oxford and Cambridge. Essentially, you have two teams of nine couples from both universities each, who will dance waltz, quickstep, cha, and jive against each other in a succession of three heats per dance. Dean and I danced on the B-Team.
Dean and I were somewhat nervous about our events since we just learned our waltz and advanced quickstep routine about two weeks before. That’s an incredibly limited amount of time to get the steps down, make sure that we’re dancing it properly, and adjust it to floor sizes. We were happy with how we danced our ballroom overall, but, as usual, our Latin felt stronger.
Photo Copyright Nathalie Raunet
One of the more embarrassing moments of the day (come on, it’s me) came with our Latin walk on. Dean and I learned the choreography the night before the Match (whoops), and he kept on asking me if I felt comfortable with the choreo. ‘Of course!’ I replied enthusiastically.
As you can tell from the second photo, I failed. Wrong leg. Whoops. According to Dean, I might’ve danced it wrong, but at least I danced with conviction. The rest of the audience will never know if my version was correct or not. Well. Wait. No, they know that it wasn’t correct. But hey. Points for effort?
Unfortunately, Oxford lost both the A and B Team Matches to Cambridge.
We all look pretty defeated. But check out my tan.
A-Team lost by 10 points, and B-Team lost by 200 points. It was heart-wrenching. At the end of the presentations, the coaches then gave out awards for the Best Latin, Ballroom, Overall, and Newcomer couples from both universities. I’ll spare you the details, but Dean and I won the best Latin and Newcomer couple for the B-Team (it was announced today after a minor glitch in the results from Saturday). Dean and I were really pleased with that result, and we also came 5th overall in the entire B-Team match. So, our ballroom didn’t bring us down too much (one judge even marked our Quickstep as second place!), which was really encouraging.
My friends then attended the Varsity Ball, but Dean and I had to sleep since we had to be up at 5:30 the next morning to attend our second competition of the weekend. We attended the ISTD Regional Qualifiers in Hove, which is where I won two years ago (it’s all cooooooming back to me noooooooow). I’ve moved up a few levels now, and I was more focused on just qualifying, which I did in both my ballroom and Latin. So, I will be competing at the ISTD Nationals in Blackpool in November again.
I also placed 5th in my Waltz pairs and 3rd in my Cha pairs with Dean. I had a bit of a bumble moment (as usual) for the Latin pairs. I really had to use the bathroom before our final, and I thought that I had enough time. As I was washing my hands, I heard ‘Calling 248 to the floor…calling 248 to the floor’. Yes. 248 was my number. I ran down the stairs, met Mom halfway, who exclaimed ‘YOU’RE ON’. ‘I KNOW’. As soon as my feet hit the stage, though, I just sauntered up to Dean and the music started playing as if nothing had happened. But wait. It gets better. Upon receiving my third place trophy, the presenter and I had a bit of a bumble moment, and somehow the trophy was dropped in the exchange. Usually, these trophies are just harder plastic, so they normally don’t break. Nope. This one did. It broke right into two pieces. The entire room was silent for a good five seconds and then just erupted into laughter. Well, I will never be late for a final again.
Currently, Mom and I are exploring Oxford for a bit. We are headed into London tomorrow to celebrate Mothers’ Day, and then we are off to Cambridge for my first conference on Thursday and Friday.