An Interview With Lancaster's Newest Strictly Come Dancing Winner- Bethany Nickson

Every year Lancaster University hold an annual charity showcase ran by the Ballroom Dance society (LUBDS), accompanied by a great deal of support from other dance societies, such as salsa and belly dancing, as well as music societies and LA1TV. One of the main events that they put on is a Strictly Come Dancing style competition, where instead of getting high(ish) profile celebrities paired with professional dancers, they find campus celebrities to pair up with members of the ballroom society. Each of the professional dancers choose a song and teach the choreography over the course of a few months to the celebs, who range from being Bailrigg FM presenters to JCR Presidents.

This year’s winner was Bethany Nickson, who is captain of Pendle Netball’s B-league team and was Women’s Sports Officer last year. I asked her a few questions about her Strictly Come Dancing journey over a few brews, and she explained to me how she was feeling throughout the process leading up to her win. Next year’s celebrities take note!

Interviewer: So, you’ve just won Strictly Come Dancing! How do you feel?

Beth: I’m relieved that all the hard work is over, but I’m really glad that I participated and helped to raise so much money for cancer research!

Interviewer: That’s so great, I hear that they have been the charity showcase for the show over the past few years now. Are they one of the main reasons why you enjoyed participating?

Beth: Yeah cancer research is something I’m personally passionate about, and as a biochemistry student it’s an area of research I’ve gained work experience in myself, alongside this, I was excited to learn a new style of dance which was Latin and ballroom.

Interview: So, have you had any dance experience before Beth?

Beth: Yes, when I was at school I did a lot of ballet and cheerleading, but I’ve never tried ballroom or Latin and it’s something I have always wanted to try.

Interviewer: How was working it with your dance partner Dan? Did you get on well?

Beth: Yes, I got on really well with Dan because we both wanted to work hard to get the best performance we could. Dan was really willing to spend the time practicing and putting together the choreography.

Interviewer: And what was the song you dance to called?

Beth: The theme this year was movies, so we chose to dance to Cut to the feeling from the film Ballerina by Carly Rae Jepson and it worked really well for a Cha Cha.

Interviewer: If you did it again would you choose the same song and dance?

Beth: I’ve always wanted to learn jive and tango, but I feel like me and Dan made a good performance out of learning Cha Cha to this song, and of course we won so I don’t know if I’d do it differently.

Interviewer: And If you hadn’t of won Strictly, which dance would you wanted to have won from the night?

Beth: It’s tough to say because I was backstage for all of the dances, but the Lion King dance from Louise and Anna and the La La Land dance from Tom and Emily really stood out for their themes and costumes and got a massive applause from the audience, so they must’ve been good!

Interviewer: Oh that’s a shame especially as you put so much hard work into learning them! What was the training like for you?

Beth: So, me and Dan started training before Christmas and we began by going over some basic techniques before we discovered Cha Cha as the best style for us. Then after Christmas, Dan started putting a dance together and then we had to start training two to three times a week, just so we didn’t make fools of ourselves on the night!

Interviewer: It sounds like the training must’ve been quite intense for you both then. I saw that LA1 TV did some coverage of all the celebrities and dancers during their training and also some interviews, how was that for you?

Beth: Well as I’m more of a sportsperson, I prefer not to be in front of the camera and I tried to block them out during rehearsal, but they’re great at what they do and I think the video interview part went well!

Interviewer: So, thinking back to the night of the performance, how were you feeling just before you were about to perform?

Beth: Well, on the night of the performance I wasn’t feeling very well, and I was a bit shaky on top the nerves as well, I guess it was also due to the fact that my friends and family had come to see me that added to my nerves!

Interviewer: I can imagine it being very nerve wracking for you in front of all those people so it’s completely understandable! Did any of your friends and family come to watch?

Beth: Yeah, so a lot of the girls from Pendle netball club came to support me which just goes to show how great our team is as a support network across our uni lives. Also, my parents made came to watch me and were sat on the front row which was I was glad about

Interviewer: That is really nice! And what about the judges scores? Were you happy with the response you got from them?

Beth: I got an eight, two nines and a ten and at first I was really happy with the scores, but after I found out that I was awarded the only 10 I felt like the overall marking of each contestant was a bit harsh and they could’ve been a bit more generous with everyone’s scores

Interviewer: Ahh hopefully next year they’ll be a bit less strict! So, you mentioned before that you were backstage for most of the show, what was the environment like in there?

Beth: Hectic but to be honest me and the other celebrities stuck together because a lot of other dance societies had performances and quick changes to get ready for as most had multiple dances to do! So, we just tried to keep our heads down, but it was nice that we could stick together and give each other encouragement for each other’s dances.

Interviewer: That’s really nice that you had each other’s backs, but at the end of the day there can only be one winner! How did you feel when you won?

Beth: Although I was really pleased with my performance and the feedback I didn’t expect to win because I just thought back to the first lesson with Dan and how impossible the task seemed. But once we performed our dance for the second time I felt more relaxed and enjoyed even more than I did the first time! After that I did think that we really did put on a good show and maybe we did deserve to win.

Interviewer: Your dance was amazing I must say and you did so well! Thank you for taking the time out to chat with me.