This weekend, the sport’s hall of Erasmus Sport was the venue for the biggest student dance competition in the Netherlands, the NTDS. For three days, hips swayed and toes twinkled. And at the end, the Rotterdam hosts took home the first prize, the official NTDS lion.

The Rotterdam dancers won because they did well on all fronts. But the show was stolen by the Rotterdam student duo Máté Széles and Sasha Tomalak. On Sunday, they won in the highest category of Latin dance. Rotterdam also won in the beginners’ category.

The event kicked off on the Friday with a Blind Date programme for dancers without a partner. This provided them with the opportunity to find a match to dance with over the rest of the weekend.

Very friendly

“These were mainly first years who hadn’t yet found a permanent dance partner who managed to get a new partner at the blind date dinner,” explains Pieter (23) from Nijmegen. This was his second competition with partner Laura (21). “The atmosphere at the competition is very friendly. Everyone comes to have a laugh and make new friends. That’s typical of student dances, which is why this competition is so much fun,” says Laura enthusiastically.

There was ballroom dancing on Saturday, with Latin on the Sunday. During the finale of the beginners’ ballroom category, dancers attempted to suppress their heavy breathing with nervous smiles. There was a slight shortage of men: in the finale, two women made up one of the couples. However, that didn’t matter for the dance: the girls danced their socks off! Then it was over to highest level, the Masters.

Seductive glances

These couples were obviously much more experienced and were cheered on loudly by the audience. The dancers were enjoying themselves and looked in good form. The tango was slightly less polished, with some couples lacking experience. Then it was the turn of the second-highest level of amateurs, confusingly called Professionals. The finale saw many seductive glances being sent in the direction of the jury. All great fun.

Dirty dancing

Even more spectacular was the open category. On the Saturday, the open category dancers took part in the Latin finale. Not having danced with their partner before, their routines showed impressive improvisation skills. The dancers distinguished themselves with their lifts, some of which had more in common with dirty dancing! On Sunday, the energy levels had fallen somewhat. Most of the dancers had spent the evening (and night) before partying. Latin proved to be a festive end to the weekend with the up-tempo music sweeping everyone up.

According to Bryan van den Boomgaard from the organising committee, the dance competition went “without any major complaints”. Next year, the event will be held in another student town, where the Rotterdam students will defend their NTDS lion.