Nouse interviews YUSU Activities Awards big winner Dance Society


Dance Society President Ella Ward reacts to their win

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By James Clay

AT THE YUSU Activity Awards 2023, held on Monday 5 June, Dance Society won the Activities Group of the Year awards. Nouse sat down with the president of Dance Society Ella Ward to discuss their successes throughout the past academic year. Ella began by commenting on the society’s reaction to winning the Activities Group of the Year award, saying that: “we really weren’t expecting it at all. We were very, very shocked but extremely proud because we’ve had a really good year. It’s absolutely well deserved on everyone’s behalf.”

Reflecting what may be the cause of her surprise, she commented that “as a performance society, we do the same thing every year. We do an awful lot but it is always the same so when it comes to the awards, there is not tonnes of room for development and changes.”

As one of the largest societies on campus, Dance Society boasts a consistent year on year membership of around 400 students, at least 250 of which dance regularly with the society. Ella argued that: “the sheer scale of it all means that we can do a lot of events. We need something for everybody and not everyone wants to commit to four hours of rehearsals each week.”

In line with most other university dance groups, York’s Dance Society covers a varied number of dance styles, including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and street. They also cover a couple of other slightly more niche dance styles, including lyrical and commercial, in order to meet the demand of their extensive membership. Dance Society held their Summer Showcase on Sunday 18 June, which occurred after the Nouse interview took place. That being said, Ella mentioned that: “we’ve been doing showcase rehearsals and preparation this term” and that: “it is all just about having lots of fun.”

Competing against one of their rivals, Dance Society came out victorious against Lancaster at this year’s Roses dance competition. Despite losing to Lancaster in the contemporary and jazz dance rounds, York’s Dance Society won in ballet, tap, street and lyrical. Ella commented that: “it was a tough one but we were really really pleased to come away with that win because we dance against Lancaster quite regularly.”

Moving on finally to talk about the gender split of members within the society, Ella described how “we are definitely a female dominated society. We do have a handful of guys that are on our teams.” Ella explained that the vast majority of dance styles can be danced by both male and female dancers in a very similar way. Unlike in professional dance groups, this gender split is fairly common amongst school and university groups but Ella commented that: “we are always looking for everyone. I know there is a stigma about boys that dance but we are only able to choose from a pool of people who do it of their own accord.”