Dance­floor novices to help hospice

Nelson Mail - - Front Page - Char­i­ties Sa­man­tha Gee sa­man­[email protected]

A group of Nel­son per­son­al­i­ties will take to the floor of the Trafal­gar Cen­tre once again in the name of rais­ing money for the re­gion’s hospice.

The Danc­ing for a Cause event matches con­tes­tants with pro­fes­sional dancers, and they are told what style of dance they will be per­form­ing – a sim­i­lar for­mat to the pop­u­lar TV show Danc­ing with the Stars – to raise funds for the Nel­son Tas­man Hospice.

Danc­ing for a Cause Char­i­ta­ble Trust chair and dance teacher Emma Silke-French said she was look­ing for­ward to try­ing to build on the suc­cess of last year’s event.

She said it had been a priv­i­lege to be in­volved with teach­ing the con­tes­tants to dance. ‘‘It was prob­a­bly one of the high­lights of my life.’’

This year’s lineup in­cludes lawyer Hamish Fletcher, ex-Nel­son Gi­ants and Tall Blacks bas­ket­baller Phill Jones, Nel­son MP Nick Smith, breast can­cer sur­vivor Lizl Matthew­son, NZ King Sal­mon chief ex­ec­u­tive Grant Rose­warne, Sprig & Fern mas­ter brewer Tracy Ban­ner, ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties Br­effni O’Rourke and Al Colum­bus, and NBS em­ployee Ab­bie Cook.

Other than the odd jazz class as a child, Silke-French said, most of the con­tes­tants had not danced be­fore.

‘‘We are ask­ing them to do some­thing quite dif­fer­ent this year. It is a bit of a challenge, right out­side a lot of peo­ple’s com­fort zones, es­pe­cially when we ask them to per­form in front of a sold-out Trafal­gar Cen­tre.’’

The con­tes­tants have sev­eral months to prac­tise their moves be­fore the event on May 23 next year. It is up to each in­di­vid­ual as to how much re­hearsal they can fit into their busy sched­ules.

‘‘It’s such a cool way to help hospice out, and we raised so much money last year we are hop­ing to ob­vi­ously bet­ter it,’’ Silke-French said.

‘‘It’s su­per-ex­cit­ing. I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to it, as are the dancers – they are a bit scared, but they are pretty ex­cited, too.’’

Rose­warne said his pre­vi­ous danc­ing ex­pe­ri­ence con­sisted of making it up as he went along, usu­ally sur­rounded by oth­ers, without pay­ing too much at­ten­tion to what ex­actly he was do­ing.

‘‘I’ve never done for­mal danc­ing where ac­tual steps are re­quired.’’

He said that when Silke-French asked him to con­sider be­com­ing a con­tes­tant, he laughed for a long time, as it was so far out of his com­fort zone, and thanked her for the op­por­tu­nity.

She asked him to think about it – and he de­cided yes, given that it was for a good cause and he had a few months to learn the steps.

‘‘I did re­quest my dance, which was the tango, but we will see whether I have got it.’’

Hospice chief ex­ec­u­tive Frans Delle­beke said he didn’t envy those who were danc­ing, and was glad he hadn’t been asked him­self. ‘‘I think you are all in­cred­i­bly brave.’’

He said the $111,000 raised at the in­au­gu­ral event last year had gone di­rectly to­wards the build­ing of the new hospice in Stoke.

NBS Nel­son Danc­ing for a Cause. May 23, 2020 at the Trafal­gar Cen­tre. Tick­ets will be avail­able through Tick­etDirect – any­one wish­ing to pur­chase a ta­ble or spon­sor the event can con­tact [email protected]­ing­fora­cause.co. nz.

PHO­TOS: BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Danc­ing for a Cause is back for a sec­ond year, to raise funds for the Nel­son Tas­man Hospice. The con­tes­tants in­clude, from left, ra­dio host Al Colum­bus, lawyer Hamish Fletcher, ra­dio host Br­effni O’Rourke, breast can­cer sur­vivor Lizl Matthew­son, NBS em­ployee Ab­bie Cook, ex-bas­ket­baller Phill Jones, and NZ King Sal­mon chief ex­ec­u­tive Grant Rose­warne. Ab­sent are Nel­son MP Nick Smith and Sprig & Fern mas­ter brewer Tracy Ban­ner.

Dancers Oliver Black and Brooke Silke-Atkins showed off their skills dur­ing the Danc­ing for a Cause launch party at the hospice in Stoke on Thurs­day.

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