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Inspired by... Classics student hot foots it from lecture hall to dance floor

Posted on 27/02/2013

Let's dance: Siobhan and her dance partner representing Royal Holloway

The Inspired by... series continues this month with student Siobhan Duffy, whose love of studying Classics has only been matched by one other thing - her passion for dance.

Siobhan has been quickstepping her way around campus, running the successful Strictly Come Holloway charity event last month, representing Royal Holloway at dance competitions and playing Suspenda in the Classical Society’s production of Up Pompeii.

And now, after putting her best foot forward with her studies, Siobhan has won a prestigious placement to study at Keio University in Japan, as part of Royal Holloway’s international exchange programme next year.

We spoke to Siobhan about Japanese culture, inspiring lecturers and trying her hands - or feet - at new hobbies.

What inspired you to get into dancing?

I’ve always had a love for dance and remember being inspired by the greats such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers from an early age. I wanted to try something new at university, so when I saw the stall for Ballroom and Latin American Dancesport Society at the Freshers’ Fair, I knew it was meant to be! Before long I was travelling all over the south of the country to compete with other universities and have loved every minute of it.

Do you have a favourite dance?

One dance that gives me goose bumps is the Tango. I don't personally compete with the Tango, so I just learn it for fun. It originated in Argentina and was designed to be a dance of passion. The hold is a lot more intimate than the normal ballroom hold, and the movements are sharper and crisper with flicks and twists that make it a nice change from the graceful waltz and the energetic quickstep.

What do you enjoy about studying Classics?

The great thing about my course is that it involves learning such a wide range of subjects, including history, archaeology, literature, Latin and ancient Greek, philosophy, art, culture and religion. You can easily find something that you really enjoy and focus on it. Our lecturers are all so enthusiastic about the subjects that they teach and can really inspire you to fall in love with the subject. Before I came to Royal Holloway I thought I knew everything about the Classical world and I was certainly proved wrong!

What are you looking forward to most about studying in Japan?

Apart from studying the subject itself, I am really excited about experiencing a new culture. It is so different to Western culture and I can’t wait to attend the monthly festivals, visit religious temples, try new food, learn new sports such as Japanese archery, make new friends and do things that I would never have the chance to do at home.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I believe communication is very important and I would love to teach English in Japan. English is a really hard language to learn if you are not a native speaker, yet it is the third biggest language in the world after Spanish and Mandarin. I would find it incredibly rewarding to teach future generations that skill.




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