Kapiti Dancers Cha Cha Along


Glitzy Competition Keeps Dancers on their toes

Story and photos by Peter Corlett

There was the glitz and glamour of a fairy tale ball, with swirling ball gowns, tiara, high heels, tuxedos and tails, as over seventy competitors graced the dance floor in front of appreciative spectators at the NZ dance champs in Wellington.

And Kapiti dancers — Marina Babushkina, Valerie Sum and Colin Banks from the Dance Feat dance school — featured in the winners list, attaining certificates and medals in several events.

From Foxtrot to Cha Cha

Run by the NZ Federal Association of Teachers of Dancing, the annual national competition brings competitors from around NZ to compete in events featuring Ballroom, such as the graceful traditional Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep; Latin American dances such as the Rumba, Samba and Cha-Cha; plus sequenced New Vogue styles of dances such as the Gypsy Tap, La Bomba and the sensual Tango Terrific.

Bigger, better, ritzier

Marina Babushkina from Kapiti

And it was good to see Kapiti Coast dancers doing so well.

Tanya Scherzer, who heads the Dance Feat dance school, says:  “This was the second year running the NZ One Dance National Champs, and even though we’re doing things differently it was bigger and better than last year.

“We look forward to this event along with Ballroom and Latin American dancing, continuing to grow again in Wellington and New Zealand.

 Helping make this a success this year were our sponsors, Chong Gordon family, The Print Room-Kapiti, Pascoes, KPC laundry services, Metro lighting and Hutt Valley High School with Ripe coffee.”

Tanya, who was one of the comperes, also says: “Dancing is for the mind, body and soul, creating a better person in ourselves.  ”

Ballroom resurgence

Valerie Sum and Colin Banks — another pair from the Kapiti Coast who did well

Interest in ballroom dancing is experiencing something of a resurgence in popularity through films such as 2016 Oscar winner La La Land.

While many join dancing as a form of healthy exercise or to learn how to dance for special events, others do so for the social interactions and as a way of meeting new people.

Dance is about having fun, a way of expressing freedom, as in the adage “Dance like no-one is watching” attributed to the 1987 song “Come from the Heart” by songwriters Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh.

“Dancers of all levels are given the opportunity to express themselves through dance while experiencing the glamour of the competitive dance floor, and develop long lasting friendships on the sideline.” says Tanya.

“Bringing ballroom and Latin American dancing to the community will hopefully see its growth again”.