Marlborough dancers on top
The Blenheim and Picton Star Dance Academies cleaned up at the Salsa Solo New Zealand Championships held in Christchurch.
Star Dance Academy national director and Blenheim coach Stayz Raukawa put their success down to preparation, and with a team of 26 they had at least one competitor in each event, he said.
Salsa shine is a division of solo salsa and latin dancing which was started because there was a shortage of men to make pairs.
About 100 dancers from 15 dance schools competed in seven events at the Woolston Club in Christchurch last weekend
The Marlborough team coached by Mr Raukawa and his wife Larissa achieved 11 top three placings.
Mr Raukawa said the weekend was capped off when they were awarded the Salsa Solo Super Shine Shield for the best overall dance school.
"I'm really stoked. It's a culmination of five or six years of hard work," he said.
Mr Raukawa said the team were joined by some of their former students, who were now studying at university or teaching dance themselves.
"I felt like a proud grandfather with all my mokopuna around me, hanging out for the weekend; it was very satisfying," he said.
A standout performance from Caleb Griffith, 13, earned him first place in the salsa solo youth boy category and an invitation to represent New Zealand in the salsa solo international competition in Australia in November.
He was surprised to win his first national event.
"I wasn't feeling 100 per cent, because I was pretty nervous, but once I'd finished I was really happy with it," he said.
"Now I've won I'll be going to more competitions and will have a bit of experience and a title behind me, which means I will have to work harder to stay at the top."
Mrs Raukawa won first place in the adult female category along with return flights to represent New Zealand in the salsa solo international competition.
The competition was tough, and she would have to work hard in preparation to keep up with the Australians, she said.
Mr Raukawa has also been invited to judge the Australian dancers in the international competition, and is excited he will get to see his wife and the Star Dance Academy crew perform.
Salsa Solo Youth Boy Category
1 Caleb Griffith - Star Dance Academy Blenheim
3 Josh Kenny - Star Dance Acadedemy - Blenheim
Salsa Solo Youth Girl Category
2 Zoe Claasen - Star Dance Academy - Blenheim
3 Sophie Newman - Star Dance Academy - Blenheim
Salsa Solo Adult Male Category
3 Star Dance Academy - Auckland
Salsa Solo Adult Female Category
1 Larissa Raukawa - Star Dance Academy - Blenhiem
2 Olive Kaa Lee - Star Dance Academy - Blenheim
Salsa Solo Youth Teams Category
1 Star Suave - Star Dance Academy - Blenheim
2 Star Lil Angles - Star Dance Academy - Blenheim
Salsa Solo Adult Open Latin Category
3 Salsa Divaz - Star Dance Academy - Picton
Salsa Solo Adult Salsa Teams Category
2 Star Samba - Star Dance Academy - Blenheim
- The Marlborough Express