Dance pair strike gold
Enjoyment and relief
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.