Two champion dancers have “taken one for the team” and saved the DanceSport national competition from being booted from Wollongong.
In March, DanceSport Australia cited financial reasons had forced them to cancel this year’s National Championship, which had only last year moved to the Illawarra after 35 years in Canberra.
Former world number one ballroom dancers and owners of DanceSpace 383, Alan and Donna Shingler, didn’t want to see the Illawarra lose the event so stepped in to save it.
“The budget we’re looking at is around $45,000, we should break even we’re hoping,” Mrs Shingler said, noting a personal sponsor had helped them with the cost.
“We were just sitting in the lounge-room and realising people had booked flights and accommodation, for any parent of any sport to help fund their kids to be involved in sport is not easy and we felt we had to honour that.”
For any parent of any sport to help fund their kids to be involved in sport is not easy and we felt we had to honour that.Donna Shingler
Despite the major hiccup, what is now called the Mercedes- Benz Wollongong Dancesport Championship has become the second biggest event in the country with 252 couple entries in more than 850 events. Some competitors are travelling from as far as Iceland and Hong Kong.
Mrs Shingler said the short turn-around has been nerve-wracking because she is “not an organiser by nature”.
“It’s a huge learning curve,” Mrs Shingler said. “We just felt [dance] couples need good events to compete. It’s good for Wollongong and it’s good for us, we just thought we’d take it for the team.”
Aside from the name change, the other major difference with the event is the venue – moving from the WIN Entertainment Centre to University Hall at the University of Wollongong.
Mrs Shingler said UOW still offered great flooring while it was very accessible for competitors and spectators with ample parking.
It is expected the National Championship will return to Wollongong in 2019, with DanceSport Australia CEO Steve Edwards stating on their website they had already commenced planning.
“We are deeply sorry about not being able to execute this event,” Mr Edward wrote. “In the interim, National Council has decided that the selection events usually conducted at the National Championship will be managed within the Australian Championships in Melbourne in December, 2018.”
The Wollongong Dancesport Championship will run across June 30 and July 1 and see dancers compete in ballroom, Latin American and New vogue style.
For details on the event visit: www.mbwdc.com