Dancing to the top

When Taihei Matsumoto joined Darwin in October to begin an MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, he was determined to make the most of the varied opportunities that Cambridge had to offer. At the Freshers’ Fair, his attention was caught by the Cambridge University Dancesport Team.

“I thought they looked so cool, and I wanted to give it a try.”

Four months later, Taihei found himself taking first place in both the Beginners’ Jive and the Beginners’ Cha Cha at the Inter Varsity Dance Championships at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. He is now preparing for the Varsity competition against Oxford in May.

With lessons three days a week and individual practice taking up much of the rest of his spare time, dance is coming to define Taihei’s Cambridge experience in a way that he could never have predicted.

“I enjoy the fact that it’s getting me out of my comfort zone,” he says. “I’ve done lots of team work, and lots of things as an individual, but it’s different working with a partner. You have to really communicate with that person, and work together to achieve shared goals. I’m having a lot of fun with it – I think I’ll definitely keep doing it after Cambridge.