Danc­ing the night away for charity

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - GE­OR­GIA FORRESTER

Ball gowns re­splen­dent with jewels glit­tered and shone in a spec­ta­cle as Danc­ing with the Stars re­turned to Feild­ing.

Now in its fifth year, the charity danc­ing com­pe­ti­tion drew in tal­ented dancers and a crowd to Feild­ing’s Civic Cen­tre on Fri­day.

About 480 peo­ple clapped, cheered, and whis­tled for Manawatu’s am­a­teur dancers, who jumped and jived to raise money for Feild­ing’s Manch­ester House.

Feild­ing res­i­dents Ali­cia John­son and fi­ance David Hal­lett knew lit­tle about danc­ing be­fore sign­ing up to the com­pe­ti­tion.

Hal­lett said he had only danced ‘‘at the pub’’ in re­cent years, and John­son said she re­mem­bered danc­ing at school years ago.

But the duo waltzed across the stage, John­son in a bril­liant blue gown, and earned roar­ing ap­plause from au­di­ence mem­bers.

The pair were among 11 cou­ples who trained for about 16 weeks for the com­pe­ti­tion. Each pair was as­signed a par­tic­u­lar type of dance to learn for the com­pe­ti­tion.

Hal­lett said a co-worker con­vinced him to give it a go, and while he was skep­ti­cal at first, the com­pe­ti­tion was a lot of fun.

Levin res­i­dent Anne-Maria Robb and Bulls res­i­dent Ross Ad­lam have been dance part­ners for years.

Robb said she used to do bal­let in her youth and about 10 years ago, de­cided to give ball­room danc­ing a go.

‘‘It’s not some­thing that I ever thought I would do. I was 41 when I started. I’m 52 now,’’ Ad­lam said.

Tr­ish and Mike Whit­son were the danc­ing duo be­hind the scenes who trained all 51 dancers in the show, in­clud­ing the 21 com­pet­i­tive dancers and the three groups who per­formed on the night.

Tr­ish Whit­son said the dancers took part for a range of rea­sons, such as want­ing to im­prove their dance skills, get out of their com­fort zone and give back to the com­mu­nity.

Robyn Dun­can, from Manch­ester House, said last year’s danc­ing fundraiser raised about $20,000.

Al­though she did not think this year’s event would make the same amount, she said every lit­tle bit helped the or­gan­i­sa­tion and com­mu­nity.

The money would go to­wards mak­ing par­ent pro­grammes and com­bat­ing youth sui­cide in the area.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Stacey Robin­son and Adam Barns dance the jive.

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