Dog danc­ing hits the note

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Maryanne Taouk

HANG­ING up her jazz shoes when she was 30, Loretta Rab­bitt, 59, chose a ca­reer as an ac­coun­tant over teach­ing dance.

It wasn’t un­til 2007 that she got into the groove again, this time with her toy poo­dle Chloe.

The Mi­randa lo­cal was vis­it­ing a pet expo in Rouse Hill when she saw “dog danc­ing” and found a new call­ing.

“I was a jazz and clas­si­cal dancer, I would teach classes and it re­ally gave me a great joy,” she says.

“When I found dog danc­ing I felt that same thing im­me­di­ately.”

With Chloe, Rab­bitt won the first Dances with Dogs cham­pi­onship ti­tle in Aus­tralia with a Moulin Rouge themed rou­tine that she says was pop­u­lar be­cause of Chloe’s per­son­al­ity.

“You can have the same mu­sic per­formed by five dif­fer­ent peo­ple but each one will be dif­fer­ent be­cause of the dog,” she says.

“Chloe is cheeky and cute and she liked the song so it fit her per­son­al­ity and she en­joyed her­self.

“The judges and au­di­ence can tell when the dog is not hav­ing fun.”

Fol­low­ing Chloe’s suc­cess, Rab­bitt brought two more dogs into the troupe; Jack­son, named for the pop-icon Michael Jack­son, and Swayze, af­ter ’90s heart-throb Pa­trick Swayze.

“They are dancers, so I named them af­ter great dancers – Jack­son does an amaz­ing Thriller rou­tine and Swayze is all ‘go, go, go’ so he’s been rock­ing to AC/ DC, he has a lit­tle mo­tor­bike he rides on.”

Rab­bitt be­lieves dog danc­ing is one of the “tough­est sports to mas­ter”, and hopes the next gen­er­a­tion get in­volved to keep its pop­u­lar­ity alive.

“I wish there was more chil­dren danc­ing with their dogs, it’s such a won­der­ful thing and cre­ates an incredible bond,” she says.

Rab­bitt now teaches dogs and their own­ers dance moves for com­pe­ti­tions as well as per­form­ing her­self.

The NSW Dances with Dogs ti­tles is on Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 18 at Ersk­ine Park. For more in­for­ma­tion visit: dogsnsw.org.au

Loretta Rab­bitt likes to dance with poo­dles, Jack­son and Swayze. Pic­ture: Jenny Evans

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