We are the University of Birmingham Ballroom and Latin American Dance Society, which we normally shorten to BALADS!
We are based at the Guild of Students at the University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK. We hold regular social and competition-focused classes and practice sessions throughout the year.
Every Monday at 6pm we host a social class which is suitable for anyone, especially those with no dance experience! These classes are taught by experienced members of the society and cost only £2!
The social class finishes at 7pm when we then have our weekly Rock 'n' Roll class taught by our professional coach, Craig Freeman. Our classes cover both acrobatic and non-acrobatic Rock 'n' Roll and there is never any pressure to participate in the lifts! We regularly practice the more difficult lifts in a safer environment at the local gymnastics gym.
We also hold social dance events throughout the year - look out for more details from our Social Secretary!
We compete at many University circuit dancesport competitions throughout the year - these competitions include Ballroom, Latin, Acrobatic and Non-Acrobatic Rock 'n' Roll as well as Salsa.
We encourage beginners to compete as soon as possible - those of you who join in October will have the opportunity to compete at Leicester Friendly in November. We have found competing to be the best way to improve as dancers!
Our Beginner, Novice and Higher classes commence at the beginning of University term in October. Our classes are taught on Tuesdays by our two professional coaches, Kevin Allcott (Ballroom) and Kerry Dennehy (Latin) who teach on alternate weeks throughout the year. They are also available to society members for private lessons throughout the same day, depending upon demand.
Our classes cost £4 each, and 45 minutes of private coaching costs £25.
Before the first competition we run a partnering session. When it comes to partnering we will try to introduce you to someone who has similar goals. We encourage you to dance with as many people as possible to learn how much you enjoy the sport!
On Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons we host practice sessions. One hour is dedicated to Beginner's practice and committee are always on hand to help out!
We host our own annual competition, the Birmingham Friendly, which often takes place in the Aston Webb Great Hall at the University of Birmingham. At this competition, we welcome other teams from around the UK.
Every year we participate in the Inter Varsity Dancesport Competition (IVDA) hosted at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. As the spiritual home of Ballroom dancing, the trip to Blackpool is not to be missed and we make a whole weekend out of it, including a trip to the world-famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom for a Tea Dance and an all-you-can-eat buffet!
Finally, we offer the opportunity for you to take Medal Tests - these are a great opportunity to be recognised for your progress and are similar to music exams if you've ever taken those. Competitions aren't always the best recognition of your abilities as a dancer and medals give you something to show for your year of dancing (as well as the friendships and memories!)