Perth, Western Australia

Report by Jack Johnson & Joanne de Jager

For one Sunday in July the hearts, minds and attention of the nation’s Ballroom Dancers were firmly focused on Rockingham, Western Australia as the first competition in the country since the emergence of the COVID pandemic, the Australian Institute of Dancing’s Annual Championships, was held. 

Competitors, adjudicators and spectators alike flooded into the Star Ballroom,  of course in adherence with health regulation, brimming with excitement and anticipation of what was to be a fantastic day celebrating dance. 

An anecdote that is frequently passed about at the moment is that after such times of hardship and distress people are eager and enthusiastic about returning to artistic pursuits such as dance – the event on Sunday proved that this is indeed no mere conjecture but in fact is reality. From the time the very first competitor stepped up onto the floor it was almost as if the room filled to the brim with energy, lovers of dance just so grateful to be given the opportunity to be present at that moment. 

A momentous amount of recognition needs to be given to the organisers of the event, the Australian Institute of Dancing, and the leadership they demonstrated in taking advantage of the fortunate circumstances we find ourselves in in Western Australia. As soon as it was permitted to do so the society had released a screed and details of the event which was almost like a shot of adrenaline into local studios, with dancers devoting extra resources towards practice time, lessons and costuming into order to try and garner a better result at this event. 

The AID Annual Championship is an event with much history, being run successfully for an uninterrupted period of 69 years since 1951 – which surely must be a record, or if not close to it, in this country. The members of the society are able stewards of such an event – carrying on a legacy and tradition far greater and more significant than any one individual. The perpetual trophies given out at this event, some of which date back as far as the 1950’s, are time capsules of WA’s rich history of Ballroom Dancing events and to have your name added to one is to be added to that history. 

The competition on the day was diverse and fiercely fought. Many new partnerships formed during the COVID period, or just before, made their debut at the championships which is an encouraging sign and portends some great battles to be had at future events. Another exciting addition to the event were two Professional events (Latin & New Vogue), which we hope could mean the emergence of a new generation of Professionals; competing, teaching and demonstrating, and thus furthering the spread of this fantastic artform throughout the wider community. 

We find ourselves in one of the most enviable positions in the world in Western Australia. And yet there is, understandably, still some trepidation among people in the community to hold such events. No one in our community is an expert on diseases or this pandemic so all that organisers and studio owners can do is follow the advice given to us by our local authorities and to make sure that it is adhered to religiously. There are many more Ballroom Dancing events planned for the WA calendar which we all look forward to tremendously, all the while cognizant and thankful for the privileged position in which we find ourselves in and hopefully that these conditions remain stable.

Everyone within the dancing community in WA wishes our friends, competitors and colleges around the country and the world the very best of luck in dealing with this crisis and we hope that you will soon be able to join us on the competition floor.

Happy Dancing,

Jack & Joanne

To see the results from the first event back in Australia since the COVID-19 lockdown, follow the link provided http://dancesportlive.net/dsl/results/2020/aid_annual/

Jack Johnson & Joanne de Jager
Photo: Kerrie Rolls Bourke Photography
Lucien Maart & Sabrina Serra
Photo: Kerrie Rolls Bourke Photography