Danc­ing through the years

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

A pair of twin­kle-toed cham­pi­ons is hop­ing they’ve still got the right moves to sweep the floor with the com­pe­ti­tion at the New Zealand Masters Games.

Auck­land Cen­tral Ce­roc Dance in­struc­tors Elly-Ann Pritchard and Wayne Grif­fiths will be com­pet­ing in dance­s­port at the 13th Masters Games to be hosted in Whanganui next week.

Af­ter clock­ing up hours of train­ing on the dance floor of their Lorne St stu­dio, they are poised for success, Ms Pritchard says.

‘‘Ev­ery time we com­pete we get bet­ter and bet­ter.’’

And if she’s right the com­pe­ti­tion may as well pack up their danc­ing shoes and head home as this dy­namic duo al­ready has an im­pres­sive swag of tro­phies to show for their ef­forts.

Among other awards they have taken home, they have gold medals in the dance­s­port cat­e­gory at both of the last two Masters Games.

Ms Pritchard has been danc­ing for al­most 47 years, but Mr Grif­fiths is a rel­a­tive new­comer to the sport hav­ing taken it up just three and a half years ago af­ter his re­tire­ment from Aus­tralian pro­fes­sional foot­ball.

The Mt Roskill-res­i­dent was look­ing for a low-im­pact sport that would still al­low him to ex­er­cise his com­pet­i­tive side.

Danc­ing was a per­fect move, he says.

Ce­roc is a part­ner dance com­bin­ing a fu­sion of salsa and mod­ern jive with­out the com­pli­cated foot­work.

Mr Grif­fiths says the pair may have some sur­prises in store for both the judges and spec­ta­tors next Satur­day.

‘‘We can spend ages cre­at­ing new moves be­cause there are no rules in this sport. When we go and com­pete we al­ways aim to do some­thing new that no-one’s ever seen be­fore.’’

Be­cause the games are re­stricted to en­trants who are 35 years or older, judges can­not get caught up in the youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance that younger com­peti­tors could bring to the floor, Ms Pritchard says.

‘‘That’s one of the lovely things about the games is you go there and you are com­pet­ing against peo­ple of your age – not against 20-year-olds. ‘‘We have to dance smart.’’ With no plans to step back from the sport any time soon, Mr Grif­fiths says they will have to wheel the pair off of the dance floor be­fore they hang up their jiv­ing shoes. Ms Pritchard agrees. ‘‘I want to be a role model for grow­ing old dis­grace­fully.’’

The com­pe­ti­tion will be held on Fe­bru­ary 2 from 1pm.

Photo: JESS LEE

Let's dance: Wayne Grif­fiths and Elly-Ann Pritchard are com­pet­ing in dance­s­port at the New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch the pair per­form.

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