Sabbs Come Dancing beats fundraising target for IDAS


YUSU Academic Officer Deb takes home glitter ball trophy, alongside Dance Society

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Image by Nadia Sayed

By James Clay and Nadia Sayed

Nouse attended Sabbs Come Dancing, a fundraising event organised by YUSU Activities Officer Rohan Ashar and RAG Officer Ellen Rintoul. The dance competition, which saw sabbatical officers and individual dance societies try out each other’s dance styles, was part of Ellen’s commitment to “bring RAG back to York.”

The money raised through Sabbs Come Dancing, over £2000, will be donated to YUSU’s RAG beneficiary charity, IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Service). As a charity, they support victims of domestic abuse in the north of England. In the past year, they have had over 18,000 individual referrals. Voting was done through a QR code system with donations of £1 per vote.

YUSU Academic Officer, Debayan Dey, took home one of the glitter ball trophies, having won the audience vote and full marks from the judges. He danced a south Asian fusion routine choreographed by Vyshnavi Vijitharaj who skilfully incorporated the styles of bollywood, gaana and bhangra.

Judging the dances were Ellen Rintoul, Wayne Campbell who is the University’s Academic Registrar, Joan Concanon, the University’s Director of External Relations, and Laura and Sonya who are representatives from IDAS. The dance society competition was judged by Ella Warren from the Dance Society, Sarah Dakin from the Swing Dance Society and Sophie Pearson from YBLS, alongside one of the other judges on a rotating basis.

The evening was spaced out by each dance group taking to the stage, in between the sabbatical officer’s dances. Towards the end of the show, each dance society then performed a dance, showcasing their own dance styles.

Dancing first, Activities Officer Rohan Ashar received a score of 27.5 from the judges, having performed a Jazz routine with his partner and choreographer Emily Oliver. Responding to Rohan’s comment “I think I do move like cardboard,” Wayne Campbell light-heartedly described Rohan’s dance as “the most flexible form of cardboard” that he had ever seen. Both the judges and audience loved the cheeky wiggle which Rohan directed towards the judges with him mentioning that the wiggle was his own contribution to the dance.

Next to perform were Dance Society, who took to the stage to showcase their Swing Dance routine. The judges gave positive feedback and were impressed with the dancer’s armography and footwork.

Taking the floor as the second Sabb Officer, Community and Wellbeing Officer Hannah Nimmo performed a slow Waltz which received a score of 34 from the judges. The judges described the performance as “dreamy”, with Ellen Rintoul even going as far as to say that: “Hannah you made me cry.” Hannah also received a 9 from Wayne Campbell who said that watching Hannah perform was “like watching an angel walk on water.”

York Ballroom and Latin Society were the next dance society to perform. The group adopted the style of jazz and danced to the High School Musical number ‘A Night to Remember.’ After the dance, one of the society members thanked Amy Cope for choreographing the routine. Judge Emily Oliver from UYDS (York Dance Society) said she was impressed by Morgane’s box split in the routine.

Following the interval, Pierrick Roger stepped out onto the floor with a Swing routine to Gregory Porter’s version of ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz’. For this routine, Pierrick received 35 marks from the judges who also gave notably mixed feedback. Joan Concanon described the performance as “a little bit tentative in hold” but Wayne Campbell stuck to his role as the more generous judge saying that the dance “tickled [his] taste buds.”

As the final Sabbatical Officer to take the floor, York Sport Union President Franki Riley danced a jive to the music of Hairspray with her choreographer and dance partner Morgane Watson. In her comments, IDAS adviser Laura Mason mentioned that she “loves a bit of bling,” when complimenting Franki and Morgane’s red, flapper girl costumes.

The dance competition between the dance societies was won by Dance Society who not only won the audience vote but also received a score of 33 from the judges for their swing dance routine which was choreographed by George Monday. They took home the other glitter ball trophy, beating out the Swing Dance Society and York Ballroom and Latin Society (YBLS).

Dancing jazz was a new style for most of the members, YBLS received a score of 30 from the judges. Having watched the performance, Joan Concanon explained how the “playful” routine, which had been choreographed by Amy Cope, had “made me feel thoroughly inadequate.”

As the final group dance, Swing Dance Society performed an eclectic mix of various ballroom styles to ‘How far I’ll go’ from Moanna. Complimenting the dancers given their lack of experience, Sophie Pearson commented that: “they had such good floor craft.” This routine received a score of 31 and was choreographed by Meg Warlow, Chloe Barker and Chloe Taylor from YBLS.

Channelling their inner Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, Comedy Society's Freddy Russell and YSTV’s Meg Maguire acted as the event’s presenting duo. As the main organisers of the event, Ellen Rintoul and Rohan Ashar also spoke throughout the evening, both of whom expressed their thanks and gratitude to YSTV and Techsoc members along with YUSU staff.