Dog dancing hits the note
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