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was a master dancer in Estonia before moving to New Zealand). For eight
days during their summer holiday, Harry and Marie relaxed and surfed
during the day and choreographed the eight dance routines we needed
during the hot summer evenings.
Andi and I spent three or four sessions each week rehearsing the
demanding standards required to become ballroom dancers. By late
July we were on the plane to Montreal for the start of the dancesport
competition in the first Outgames, joining more than ten other Aussie
couples and some 250 couple from other countries, as they spun around
the dance floor in a glittering array of outfits – decorated with sequins
and diamantes, sporting their patent leather shoes, ballroom frocks and
Stepping on to the floor for the first time in an international competition
was a terrifying – and exhilarating – experience. The dance floor was
massive by comparison to our tiny shed, there were other couples
whizzing by at extraordinary speeds, the competition lights were blinding
and the stadium seating stretched away into the darkness. When the
music for our first waltz started, I smiled at Andi, swallowed my terror,
stepped into her arms and began to dance.
I expected that one or both of us might simply freeze with fear, but to
my surprise there were moments of grace in our dancing which were
so delicious that I could close my eyes and surrender to the experience.
The pressure of my feet on the soft, slippery floor, the feeling of arching
backwards when Andi spun me around, feeling the rhythm of the music
rather than counting it in my head and feeling the connection between
us, built up over a year of hard work. Of course there were also moments
when we stumbled and made mistakes – but they were fewer than I
expected. To my surprise, I found I loved being out there.
Andi and I were thrilled with our highest achievement – making it to the B-
grade semi finals in the over-40 Latin dancing. I thought that after Montreal
we would stop dancing and go back to our normal lives – however the
lure of the two bodies moving as one around the dance floor is still there,
especially after watching the German gold medallists. We’re already
talking about the next Outgames in Copenhagen in three years time.
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