Australia vs New Zealand

Don Herbison-Evans
(updated 16 September 2004)

A unique dance event was organised at the Novocastrian Dance Titles 2001, on Saturday 17th March at the Cardiff Panthers Club: this was the "Trans-Tasman New Vogue Showcase". Seldom are Amateur competition ballroom dancers given the chance to choreograph and costume their own routines, with no "strictly ballroom" constraints on technique. but the promoters of this dance event, Jenny and Alex Gaudron, provided this special opportunity for local and New Zealand couples .

Each couple was given a two minute piece of music in one of the New Vogue rhythms: Fast Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, Tango, and March. They could choreograph anything to this based loosely on the well known New Vogue dances. The dancers then organised themselves into teams of three or four couples, one for each rhythm (some couples doubled up with two pieces). Eighteen local couples put pieces together, making five teams, Four couples from New Zealand provided the Trans-Tasman team.

The Australian teams first had to compete against each other for the honour of competing against New Zealand. Couples from two or three teams took the floor at a time, dancing their exhibition piece to the designated music for their selected rhythm.

The choreography was multifarious, ranging from a simple medley of the championship New Vogue dances, to some extraordinary compositions involving Rumba and even Paso Doble. Many included drops and lifts, and one had some acrobatic somersaults. The competitors were also encouraged to design and wear appropriate costumes, and indeed it was hard to recognise some of the familar dancers in their masks, hats, cloaks, etc.

Don Herbison-Evans & Anna Piper in a Lift and a Drop from their Showcase piece

The event was judged by a special panel equipped with an audience response meter. The winning Australian team included Ken & Gloria Hall, Shim Hunter & John Goding, and Don Herbison-Evans & Anna Piper.

These then had to do it all again, taking on the New Zealand team of Brian Cummings & Donna Warren, Jan Travagliz & Fleur Yates, Ray Laurie & Pauline Purser, and Ian Wadsley & Denise Hayden. The New Zealand team may have had the disadvantage of competing in an alien country, but the audience gave them a rousing reception, and loudly cheered their performance. But it was not quite enough, and the winners were declared to be the Australians, who took home the trophy, for this year anyway.