Dance competitors from throughout Australia, New Zealand and China took the next step in their careers on the weekend.
The annual South Coast Ballroom Spectacular took place at Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul on Sunday.
Now in its 52nd year, the event featured a total of 200 competitors from primary school aged children to seniors, beginners to professionals, stepping out with moves in Latin, New Vogue, foxtrot and quick step.
Ballroom dancers from throughout Australia, New Zealand and China competed.
An estimated crowd of 500 people attended the Thirroul venue to see some of the best dancers around compete for prizes and the chance to represent their country overseas.
The major winners from Sunday’s event will get the opportunity to dance at the 2018 Blackpool Dance Festival in Shanghai.
Event organiser Donna Shingler said the event, which allows participants of all levels and all ages to compete was a feature of the Australian DanceSport calendar.
She said it was one of the longest running ballroom events in Australia, giving Illawarra dancers a chance to test their skills against the best in the country.
“The amount of entries we’ve had is massive… The state championships that are in South Australia in a couple of weeks have under that.
“We’re just a small Sunday competition, we’re not a state championship, but the entries are phenomenal.
“The venue too, it’s a real ballroom and it just has a great atmosphere.
“So many of the couples all over Australia want to come and compete here.
“So today the numbers have been fantastic. The kids’ numbers have been the best we’ve ever had.
“It’s so good to see children doing this – I’m blown away with the amount of kids that we’ve got here today.”
Mrs Shingler, a former British Open champion herself, said Wollongong is famous for world-class ballroom dancers.
“Every place has their reputation for sportspeople, and we have an incredible reputation for world champions that come from Wollongong.
“Also, after the nationals that we had at the WIN Entertainment Centre in June, it’s spurred on a real interest in ballroom dancing in the Illawarra.”
Having events like this, and the DanceSport Championships take place in the Illawarra helps bring attention to the sport, according to co-organiser Margaret Reeve.
“It’s a very glamorous sport and I think it’s a lovely thing because there’s a lot of social graces lost today with people, and it helps (bring people together),” Mrs Reeve said.