Duo takes world dance titles
Waikanae's Becky Gibson has proved Kiwis can dance, becoming the first New Zealander to win a world title at the World Pro and Amateur Championships in Ohio last month.
Gibson and her dance partner Cody Stephens won the American Smooth and American Rhythm titles in the pro- am young adult class.
The pair's two world titles are the first a New Zealand pairing has won at the championships, where the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada traditionally dominate.
"It was amazing. It was completely different from over here. We expected it to be big, but it blew your mind to be quite frank," Gibson said.
"The competition is the toughest competition in the States, and we were up against some open champions as well it turns out."
Heading to the world championships, Gibson was expecting about 4000 people to be taking part, but entries were eventually capped at 12,000.
She said the event was huge, and the level of dancing was higher than anything she had seen in person.
Some dancers demonstrating during the event were people Gibson had only seen online, and even the announcer was world renowned for his work at dance competitions.
"Every time we'd hear him I'd start laughing because he is the voice you hear at these big competitions on YouTube. That's his job, to go around to the top dance competitions. It was pretty amazing."
Despite the size of the competition Gibson was calm during the event, and didn't show any nerves, even in the finals.
"No I wasn't nervous, because you've done all the practice and so you've just got to go out and do it," she said.
"You do the hard stuff beforehand, so it's not that hard out there. Then after you have to wait about half an hour to hear the results, and I wasn't nervous. It's done and there is nothing more you can do."
After winning, her partner Stephens was especially excited.
"He was probably more excited than me. He let out a little squeal of excitement," Gibson said.
"It's just because it's something that's never been done before. It's cool to think that the little guy from Waikanae has won two world titles."
Stephens is keen to continue the partnership in the future, and work on defending the world title at next year's event.
Gibson said she would love to return, but will be searching for sponsors to pay for next year's trip.
While in the United States she was able to get in some shopping in Los Angeles and New York, and avoid all but one exam.
"I got back and turned up for my last exam and everyone said, 'What are you doing here, why did you bother'. It was only health so I guess I didn't have to, but, oh well."