New Zealand Amateur and Professional Dancesport Championships

The weekend of the 25th-26th July saw the 59th New Zealand Amateur and Professional Dancesport Championships held in Auckland at the ASB Stadium. Couples came from all over the country as well as some from Australia, China, Serbia and the USA. 237 couples entered to compete for National titles in the amateur and professional events in both the Ballroom and Latin styles. A further 20 juvenile and junior couples were there competing in the Champions of Tomorrow Championships.

An estimated 2000 people passed through the doors over the weekend to see the elegance of ballroom and excitement of the Latin in all its glitz and glamour. Heats were run during the day with semi finals and finals being held in the evenings.

Candy Lane hosted the evening sessions along with Kingsley Gainsford, organizer of the event. Dancing With the Stars producer, Debra Kelleher, also attended with some of the celebrities from the show and, along with Executive Director of DANZ Dr. Tania Kopytko, assisted in presenting the awards to the winners.

The A Grade ballroom was a close contest with Peter and Rebecca Beardsley from Queensland taking the top amateur title with their calmness and musicality. Last years winners Tim Mullayanov and Yulia Mullayanova from Christchurch gave a strong, standout performance placing second.

Kristijan Pavlovic and Sandra Orgonas from Serbia clearly won the A Grade Latin with a strong, focused and controlled performance, that showed a clear connection between the couple.

Winners of the Professional Standard event, Richard and Natalie Perry from Queensland, moved across the floor with elegance and confidence.

The Professional Latin title was won by last years winners, Cody Stephens and Rachel Burstein. It is unfortunate that there were no other competitors in this event as I think it may have fired a stronger performance from them.

Up and coming male dancer, 15year old Lyu Ishizuka from Christchurch, was awarded The Most Dynamic Male trophy. This young dancer performed strongly throughout the weekend, showing a maturity and energy in his dancing. He is an emerging talent to watch for in the future.

Overall the weekend event smoothly, bringing our top couples together to display their talent and skill on the dance floor. Congratulations to all.

Brian Jones

(Review published in DANZ Quarterly)