University is a great place to take up a new hobby, or develop an existing one. We all know that societies are the perfect way to make the most out of our university experience, as Claire Williams has discovered since joining the University of Leeds’ dance society, Exposé. Here she’s had a chance to wow spectators with her moves, both at her shows and on many nights out on the tiles…
Had you been dancing for long before you came to Leeds?
Yes, I've been dancing since I was about 6 or 7 - ballet, modern jazz, tap etc. My dance school was like a second home by the time I left!
What first made you decide to audition for Exposé?
I was always planning to get involved with a society at Leeds because I wanted to carry on dancing at university. It's my main hobby so I wasn't going to give it up easily! I knew I'd need some form of exercise that didn't involve the gym because I'm lazy, and if you gave me the option to spend the night in bed on the computer over getting drenched in sweat, I'd be in my pyjamas before you'd finished asking the question. I'd read about Exposé and it sounded like exactly what I was looking for out of a dance society and I figured it couldn't hurt to audition.
Were you expecting to get chosen?
Not even a little bit. There were so many talented and intimidatingly bendy girls at the audition, I figured that I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell. I spent the whole thing getting progressively more nervous until I ended up chanting ridiculous motivational quotes to myself! I didn't think that had translated well into my final performance, but my feeble attempt at trying to create my own Sasha Fierce seemed to have the desired effect. Being told I'd got in was an air-punch moment.
As part of the troupe, how much commitment do you have to make on a weekly basis? Have you had many chances to perform?
On average, we're rehearsing 3 days per week, but that changes depending on what's going on. For our show I know I'm going to be dancing 4 days per week until February (I take solace in the fact that I'll be able to eat like an absolute pig, guilt-free). Performing-wise, Exposé gets everywhere! Since September, I've had the chance to perform at places like the O2 Academy, The Faversham, and at the SMS Cabaret. Exposé did the LUU Dance Competition in November and put on a mini-show in Mine the week after too so it's been a busy few months. I can't even imagine what it's like for the committee!
You're obviously at uni for other things besides just the dancing. What course are you studying here?
I'm doing Broadcast Journalism, with the aim of becoming a (drum-roll please) broadcast journalist. Sadly, it does not involve any booty-shaking. Yet.
Have you found it hard to balance your time between your work and dancing?
Not really. The only real problem is having to walk home absolutely knackered at 10pm after a late rehearsal, because my halls might as well be in Narnia for the lack of available public transport options. I make extremely bad food decisions when I'm in a supermarket at that time of night!
Considering you spend so much time rehearsing with the other members, I'm guessing the social side of Exposé is pretty good?
It's excellent. You always bond with people when you spend prolonged periods of time wearing leotards around one another. The socials are fantastic too. My favourite thing about going out has always been dancing (in particular, that moment when the DJ plays Beyonce and everyone goes mental). I dance like Jack Geller, but I'm always in awe of those Exposé girls and boys that dance like they're in a music video. It's crazy, but brilliant.
What do you hope to achieve with the group over the coming term?
Passport to Dance (our big show) will be running from the 15th-18th February in the Riley Smith Hall. It's going to be fantastic, so come and watch us!
Are you hoping to continue as part of Exposé throughout your time at Leeds?
Definitely! It's one of my favourite things about university so far. I'm not going to stop if I can help it!
For more information about Exposé, check out the University Union’s website.