By Chris McCallum
Rhodes Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society hosted the ‘Dancing with the Staff’ ball on Wednesday, 20 May 2009. The show, which was modelled on the TV show, Strictly Come Dancing, saw Six Rhodes University staff members paired with six advanced student dancers had to perform one dance in either the Ballroom or Latin section. The event was part of the Dean of Student’s Alcohol-Awareness Campaign.
The contestants were Dean of Students, Dr Vivian de Klerk and Byron Rowe dancing the Waltz, Joyce Sewry of the chemistry department and Chris Rafael dancing the Cha-Cha, Pat Terry of the computer science department and Kelly Hull dancing the Quickstep, Head of Rhodes Sport, Roger Adams and Leanne van Rensburg dancing the Paso Doble, Monica Hendricks of the Institute for English Research and Leander Kruger dancing the Tango, and finally, David van Schoor of the classics department and Bianca Perry, dancing the Rumba.
The contestants were judged by Miranda Botha and Peter Mann, both certified adjudicators from the South African Dance Teacher’s Association and instructors from Rhodes Ballroom. The competition was also adjudicated by Rhodes staff members, Professor Fred Hendricks and Dr Margo Beard.
Votes were calculated with 50% judge votes and 50% audience votes. After wowing the crowds with a dramatic entrance and seductive dance, first place was awarded to Van Schoor and Perry, dancing the Rumba. They scored 32/40 from judges and 96 audience votes. Second place was awarded to Terry and Hull who danced the quickstep. They tied first with judges’ votes and 68 audience votes. Terry boasted that he hadn’t “seen any of the other competition but [he] can’t believe there is any.” “The last time I waltzed was 20 years ago,” said De Klerk. “I would much rather be lecturing or presenting a research paper than dancing!”.
Van Schoor, the winning staff member, commented before performing that he is a clumsy partner and that he had his “doubts about winning”. Perry expressed her enthusiasm for the competition, saying, “Rehearsing with David was never dull. We were always messing around and laughing. A competition like this has never occurred at Rhodes so it was pretty cool being part of the first one.”
Leanne van Rensburg, chairperson of Rhodes Ballroom and Latin Dancing Society, said that the night’s main goal was to raise funds to send Rhodes dancers to Student Nationals hosted by University of Cape Town on 9 August. Van Rensburg was glad that “the event was well attended and has raised awareness and appreciation for dancing on campus”.