Rock’n’rollers get set to hit the floor
The clock will be bobbysocked back to 1955 this Labour Weekend as the country’s top rock’n’roll dancers get footloose in Porirua.
For the two-day national championships at Te Rauparaha Arena, hundreds of rock’n’roll enthusiasts will dance solo and in couples, triples and teams. When they hit the floor, they won’t know which song they will be dancing to, but they can rest assured that it debuted between 1955 and 1963 – the golden age of rock’n’roll and an era dominated by one hip-shaking superstar.
‘‘Elvis will be in the building,’’ said Miles Coverdale, president of the Harbour City Rock & Roll Club, which is hosting the event.
Elvis at the Movies is the theme of the weekend. He said negotiating the rights with Elvis Presley Enterprises to use The King’s visage was a ‘‘real bloody hassle’’, but he got it done and the event is proving popular.
Last week, over 700 tickets had been snapped up by club members for the Friday night casual dance, and 4000 sold for the competition days.
Members from over 40 of the county’s 55 associated clubs will compete. All had to pass an assessment to take part. The Kapi-Mana Rock & Roll Club will be the best represented, with over 100 dancers cutting a rug.
The event isn’t only about the dancefloor. There will be tables of memorabilia for sale and the Western Bays Rodders will ensure there’s plenty of action outside, albeit no drag racing.
The only thing missing will be a Wurlitzer jukebox. ‘‘ Everyone would be fighting over a 20-cent piece to put in it,’’ said Mr Coverdale. ‘‘Local DJs will be handling the music, so it’s a jukebox with legs.’’
He said the halcyon days of rock’n’roll clubs was 15 to 18 years ago, in terms of popularity, but the standard of dancing had never been higher – particularly in New Zealand.
Kiwis have taken out the last eight world championships, and their domination of an Australian event last year has meant a large party of Aussies are coming across the Tas- man for the weekend to watch the masters strut their stuff.
Meanwhile, television shows like Dancing With the Stars have led to new members, particularly young men.
Individual and couples’ events will be held on Saturday, with triples and teams dancing on Sunday. Spectator tickets are available through Ticket Direct, at $6 for the day sessions (8am to 4.30pm) and $9.90 for the finals (6pm to 11.30pm).
Best foot forward: Kapi-Mana Rock & Roll Club dancers Darren Bailey and Odele Kingsford will compete in the open and top team sections at the national championships at Te Rauparaha Arena.