Aaron Gilmore grew up in Christchurch and is a renowned Ballroom and Latin American dancer, teacher, life coach and
advocate for change.
Gilmore has been competing since the age of ten, has won numerous competitions, and is two times Dancing With The Stars champ. Aaron, with Lotto’s Sonia Gray competed in this year’s DWTS contest.,
Ex Wellingtonian Karen Knofflock has fallen head of heels in love with dance. She has visited the Dominican Republic (where bachata originated), attending the Bachata Paradise Festival, learning about the roots of bachata, and enjoyed a starry chartered
Karen teaches, is administrator and event coordinator at Salsa Groove Marlborough, Blenheim.,
If you are new to social dancing, then it will be worth your while to consider these dance tips, after all, dancing cheek to cheek is as up
close and personal as it gets (in dance).
Preparation & Wellbeing
Smell nice! Ensure you and your clothing is fresh, and that you have deodorised. Some people bring a change of top and a small sweat towel to dance nights.
If you have recently consumed something with strong flavours, be sure to brush your teeth or chew gum before dancing (better still, don’t consume anything with strong flavours [e.g. garlic, alcohol] before a dance session).
It helps to tie back long hair, remove any bling rings (they can scratch your dance partner) and leave valuable jewellery at home as it can fly off while dancing, sometimes never to be seen again.,
Celia Walmsley has danced since age four. She has a background in arts management and has worked at the helm of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Tempo Dance Festival, Taupo Erupt Arts Festival and PANNZ Arts Market. These days she’s based in Wanaka and Wellington, focussing full time on her photography, specialising in dance and people at Stagebox Photography.,
May arrived in NZ in 2017 with one suitcase. She joined swing dance classes in Auckland to cure her winter blues and help overcome the kind
of difficulties new immigrants can face, isolation and work insecurity.
May found a shoemaker who customised her a pair of beautiful yet comfortable suede-soled dancing shoes. “The first moment I danced in them,
WOW, I felt like I had a pair of invisible wings.”
The turning point of this story came after an advanced dancer asked for dance shoe options on Facebook. When May suggested her
shoes, the dancer ordered two pairs. It reinforced May’s impression that it was difficult to find affordable, comfortable and stylish
dancing shoes in NZ—voila May’s Dancing Shoes was born!
Let’s start with another question. What image comes to mind when you think of Ballroom dancing? For many it is Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers elegantly dancing together across the silver screen in one of the ten movies they made. Each film having a dance routine where he woos her, she resists, then eventually succumbs to his advances. These romantic routines were usually danced in a closed ballroom hold, then opened into work danced side by side and solo.,
Saione Greer is a busy man, he runs 5 rooms of dancing at Viva Dance Studios in central Auckland. He and his team also produce a Latin Fiesta in central Auckland & Takapuna, the NZ Latin Dance Championships, Zouk Central NZ Brazilian Dance Festival, the NZ Salsa Congress in Wellington, plus a yearly Auckland Salsa Ball, phew!,
First, choose your song Nothing can move forward until you have settled on a song. Choose a small selection of songs on your phone to play to your dance teacher, as not all songs will be suitable or necessarily easy to dance to. Also, your choreographer might guide you to suggestions they know will work. Depending on the style of dance you choose, this will affect the tempo and rhythm (time signature) of the song. Music that is too slow will make you look like you are sleepwalking and music that is too fast will increase the degree of difficulty and cause you to break out in a sweat. If you are keen on a song which is too slow or fast, it might be possible to get the recording digitally altered to suit. Dancing in your wedding attire Consider what you can manage in the clothes you will be wearing. You may want to prepare by taking off a jacket or hooking up a train. Very high heels, off-the-shoulder dresses or veils can be tricky. Discuss this with your dance teacher. Some couples change into a completely different outfit for this and the rest of the day. Taking lessons Some people like to start by joining a general class before continuing to private lessons and tailored choreography. Your first dance can be as simple or as complex as you can handle. A simple routine might involve a sequence of steps repeated over and over. Or, if you are confident dancing together, additions could include a gentle dip or drop. Your teacher will soon gauge what you can manage. Lessons can start as early as three months to six weeks out with weekly sessions and practice time recommended. The bare minimum would be three or four lessons involving a simple routine that can be repeated, but practice time is a must. Rehearse again as close to the big day as you can, so the choreography remains fresh in your mind. Length of dance Do not feel obliged to dance the full length of a song, especially if it’s a rather long one. Get it edited or arrange for your DJ or band to fade it out at the prescribed time (or give them a small signal), two minutes is more than enough and will feel like plenty long enough while you are dancing it. The dancefloor Consider how you will begin the dance and how the best man or MC is going to announce it. What will the dance floor be like and what size will it be? Who will cue the music and fade it out? How it will look Take your personalities into account when choosing your music and dance choreography. Are you wanting something sexy, cheeky, loving or classic? If your wedding is themed to a particular era, this might help you choose a style of dance and music to suit. Remember this need not be about knock-out moves (unless you are both professional dancers), but about creating moments of connection and love. That is what will give your friends and family goosebumps and bring tears to their eyes. Have fun, look into each other’s eyes, smile, be present. When to dance Personally, we wanted to get our first dance over early, so we could enjoy some champagne and relax and not worry about forgetting the routine. So, in our case, after the church service and after our photographs (which involved a bit of champagne), we arrived at the reception venue, were announced - “Please welcome Mr and Mrs dot dot dot” and we entered the room and danced. Then there were drinks followed by a meal, speeches etc. Try not to leave it too late in the proceedings, for by that time you might be a bit frazzled or tiddly, and forgetful. In summary .. This ought to be something that you both want as part of your wedding nuptials. If one partner is not so keen, then this could cause unnecessary friction on a day that you’ll want to be all ease and grace. Having said that, a wedding dance can be short, sweet and simple, it doesn’t need to be a big production. And if done well it will impress on friends and family your ability to work as a team. Ange ,
Steven Spielberg's West Side Story is due to hit screens in New Zealand 26th December 2021. I know many fans of the show and the original
1961 award-winning film are anxiously waiting to see what Spielberg has done with this iconic piece of musical theatre.
The good news is the original feel of 1950s New York is still there, but refreshed, vibrant and with new energy. This new production is
based more on the stage show with its general order of the songs, rather than the 1961 film, while also changing the settings for several
of the numbers. It has a great cast, with Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original film, giving a great performance in the cameo role
of Valentina, the owner of the corner store. Be prepared for more Spanish dialogue this time, which gives a more realistic and respectful
quality to the scenes where it is used. There are no subtitles, but you are easily able to interpret the intent.
Justin Peck’s choreography managed to avoid replicating Jerome Robin’s, while retaining the character and energy to drive the story.
America was the highlight number for me, dance-wise. Of course, like anything you have become familiar with, there are moments where you
prefer the original. Robins’ choreography has become synonymous with West Side Story for many dancers, so some imagery after repeated
viewing, is just difficult to get out of your mind. However, that does not diminish the new choreography, it is energetic and character
If you’re a diehard fan of the original film, don’t watch it one more time before going to see this new production. Just go along and
view this one for what it is. Overall, this new version of West Side Story is satisfying, gritty and relevant to today.
Reviewed by Brian Jones
Photo: Brian Jones with Candy Lane at the preview in Auckland. ,
In the 1980s I got dragged somewhat unwillingly to a Jive Dance class at the famous Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden, London. Little
did I know that this would become a major passion in my life. I became addicted to dance.
I returned to New Zealand to start French Jive lessons in Auckland. Many years and classes later, we had become a team of teachers, staff,
venues—many plates spinning as I managed it all as a single parent. Looking back, I don’t know how that was even possible. In the end my
life moved on, and I passed the torch to others.
Then, in the last 3 years, I got invited out of dance retirement to teach a local group. This led to another class, and I found myself once
again falling for dance, feeling good about doing this again after such a long break—and as a mature teacher.
But meanwhile, a lot had changed in the dance industry here, and various forms of networking had vanished or been superseded by on-line
sites and social media. Many ways to market to a targeted group of dancers and enthusiasts no longer existed. One of them was Where to
Dance, a wonderful website and newsletter specifically about the Social / Partner Dance scene, run with incredible love and enthusiasm by
I really missed Where to Dance, especially as a Social Dance teacher starting again from scratch. I’m so grateful Kay agreed to pass on the
URL and database in order to build on her dream. I hope to be able to represent our Social Dance Community with as much passion as Kay did.
Social Dance is a part of our dance community that deserves representation—a big slice of dance life in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
I remain open to all ideas and suggestions, and aim to educate, support, and promote Partner Dancing across our fair land. Please do get
in touch with
your dance news and help yourself to a free listing for your classes.
Here’s to taking more chances and dancing more dances!
Mauri ora / Stay well
Angelique Meyer Colour photo
© Sharlene Ferguson B&W photo © Mark Round,