Dance pair strike gold

En­joy­ment and relief

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By TALIA CARLISLE

A Kapi-Mana rock ’n’ roll pair won a na­tional se­nior ti­tle in Auck­land over Labour Weekend.

Dar­ren Bai­ley and dance part­ner Kelly Groot­jans won the plat­inum sec­tion for over 30-year-olds.

They also won the best dressed plat­inum cou­ple, beat­ing fel­low club mem­ber Chris Pet­ti­grew and dance part­ner Emma Cas­tle, who placed third.

Kapi-Mana club mem­bers Steve Bow­den and Kathy Kent placed third in the open re­stricted sec­tion.

The com­pe­ti­tion drew more than 150 en­tries from around New Zealand.

Bai­ley said he and Groot­jans prac­tised up to seven hours a week and went to the gym reg­u­larly to keep up with their dance rou­tines.

‘‘We’re do­ing danc­ing for 20 or 30 sec­onds, then you’re chuck­ing in a throw and then you’re do­ing another lot of danc­ing, then another throw, so it’s ac­tu­ally quite hard to train for out­side of ac­tual dance prac­tice,’’ he said.

Bai­ley and Groot­jans have a com­bined danc­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of al­most 50 years. Bai­ley had en­tered most na­tion­als since 1989, he said.

The pair be­gan danc­ing to­gether last year and placed sec­ond at the 2012 na­tion­als in the plat­inum cat­e­gory.

‘‘When you’re that close to get­ting first, it’s within reach, but you don’t quite get there.

‘‘So it was a big mo­ti­va­tion and a big relief on the night to fi­nally get it.’’

Bai­ley has won plat­inum twice be­fore at na­tion­als, and won the triples event three times.

Groot­jans has won the open cat­e­gory twice and plat­inum once pre­vi­ously.

Their dif­fer­ent danc­ing ex­pe­ri­ence helped make them a good team, Bai­ley said.

‘‘It’s good be­cause you sort of take a bit from each other,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve al­ways re­ally liked her style on the floor, and she wanted to dance with me be­cause she thought it would chal­lenge her with all the jumps and things, so it’s ac­tu­ally worked out quite well.

‘‘We’ve both im­proved in the ar­eas that we wanted to.

‘‘To come off the floor and think, ‘Well, we’ve done ev­ery­thing we can’, it’s a feel­ing of hap­pi­ness and pride in the faces of your par­ents and in her case, her hus­band, and all our friends and fam­ily who were there at the na­tion­als.

‘‘They re­ally en­joyed watch­ing it and we re­ally en­joyed do­ing it,’’ he said.

Good moves: Kapi-Mana Rock ’n’ Roll Club’s Dar­ren Bai­ley and dance part­ner Kelly Groot­jans at the 2013 se­nior na­tion­als.

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