Utah Valley University's Ballroom Dance Tour Team is bringing home a championship trophy from its tour in England.
The 30-member team won first place at the Blackpool Dance Festival's British Ballroom Formation Dancing Competition in Blackpool, England. UVU dancers also participated in other events at the festival, and the team took third place in the Latin Formation Dancing Championship.
According to the festival's website, the competition began in 1920 and was the world's first international dance competition. This year's festival took place May 21-29, and more than 20,000 people from more than 60 countries came to both participate and watch.
UVU Ballroom Dance Tour Team director Paul Winkelman called it the "Olympics of ballroom dancing" in a news release.
"I've watched these dancers work through fatigue and sickness, deal with frustration, develop problem-solving skills and give more even when they felt like they had nothing left to give," he said.
K. Newell Dayley, dean of the UVU School of the Arts, credited Winkelman for much of the team's success.
"Paul Winkelman is one of the leading ballroom dance directors in the world because he is both creative and innovative, and he expects a full commitment from each member of the group," he said. "That is why they were able to excel at Blackpool. There's no mystery; he simply has high standards and clear vision."
The competition was part of the UVU company's tour through England, during which it prepared for the festival and performed for different audiences.
"Dancing at the Blackpool Festival for most of these individuals is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is a great indication of how the UVU ballroom dance program is growing," Winkelman said in a news release.