‘Outback’ dance crown coming up in Woden

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IT’S ALMOST time for ‘The Outback Crown’ to be fought-over at the Southern Cross Club—for the sixth time.

Toni Redpath
Toni Redpath

With Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, Rumba, ChaCha, Swing, Bolero and Mambo sections, it’s aimed at professionals, studio owners, social and  performing dancers at various ages and learning stages.

The brainchild of dancing couple Sharon and Marko Pekkarinen, 2005 finalists on ABC TV’s “Strictly Dancing,  ACT Professional Salsa Champions from 2008 to 2011 and owners of Danzon Dance Studio in Petrie Plaza, it’s the biggest American Style Ballroom, Latin & Swing dancing competition in Australia, and it’s been going since 1999.

Guitarist Matt Withers, with wife Emma Coughlan, on the floor
Guitarist Matt Withers, with wife Emma Coughlan, on the floor

‘American’, Sharon quickly points out to “CityNews”, is a style of dancing more akin to the Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray tradition than the showy ‘Dancesports’ which corner the market in dance competitions. Sharon’s motto is “dancing is the magic that happens between the steps” and she says all dancing is “partner-driven”, though a key difference between American and Dancesports is that in American, you can let go of your, allowing for more development in contemporary  dance.

Big news this year is the acquisition of Toni Redpath, choreographer from “So You Think You Can Dance”, as champion judge. Redpath  is the Aussie dancer who hit the high spots in the US having, with husband Michael Mead, won the Open Championships in the United States Dance Championships 4 years in a row before retiring from competition to teach from their studio in San Diego.

“Citynews” was alerted to the dance competition from an unexpected source. Classical guitarist Matt Withers, it turns out, has been dancing with his wife Emma Coughlan for several years, training at Danzon. ”For someone who used to have two left feet it’s been Incredible to combine the love of music and rhythm and put that to physical use—and it’s great socially,” he says.

“The Outback Crown” 2016, at The Canberra Southern Cross Club, Woden, July 29, 30, 31, Friday from 6:30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm and 7pm-12pm, Sunday 9am – 1pm.Tickets only at the door now, workshops and buffet event sold out, but all details at asdac.com.au



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