Winton dancers have rocked their way to the top, earning national titles at a competition in Auckland over Easter Weekend.
The 2018 National Championships are run by the New Zealand Rock n' Roll Association annually with nearly 40 affiliated clubs throughout the country taking part. This year several Southlanders enjoyed the buzz of 50s rock n roll dance and attire, coming away from the competition with a host of medals and Junior National titles.
Quinn Robins and Caitlin van Miltenburg, both from Winton, have been dancing together for a year-and-a-half and won gold in the Senior category, improving on their semi-final result from last year.
Quinn, who has been dancing for eight years, said the pair had been rehearsing for six months in the lead up to the competition.
"Seniors is the top section of the Junior Nationals."
Caitlin said competition started with heats where four couples were on the floor at one time and then subsequently eliminated throughout the rounds.
"Top eight is the semifinals, then top four is the finals. Our goal this year was to get in the finals, last year we only got into the semifinals — we got sixth.
"It was pretty exciting when we got to the finals," she said.
"I thought we've just got to dance our hardest and leave it all out on the floor," Caitlin said.
Quinn said there were 10 judges looking for specific aspects such as timing and variety before giving them a score out of 10 points.
Caitlin said it was a surprise to hear their number called out as the winners of the category.
"It still doesn't feel real that we won."
Even more impressive is the fact that Quinn and Caitlin choreographed their own routines, whereas other couples have coaches.
Quinn said they would watch videos of other dances and pick out moves that they liked to build a routine around, whilst also having a bit of help from his mum, Rochelle Robins.
Quinn also won a gold medal in the Restricted category, having no lifts, with partner Isabella O'Donnell, improving on their silver medals from last year.
"It's pretty big to win the Restricted."
The three also competed in the Intermediate Triples contest and won a silver medal. Ellexa Robins, also from Winton, won silver medals from the event and a gold in the best dressed category, while Liam McFarlane and Emma van Miltenburg won silver in the Novice section in their first ever Nationals.
Both Quinn and Caitlin said they enjoyed dancing altogether but liked the social side of competitions and getting make lots of new friends from other clubs.
"It's amazing, all the support we've had," Caitlin said.
Quinn Robins (from left) dancing with Isabella O'Donnell and Caitlin van Miltenburg at the 2018 National Championships. PHOTO: Rochelle Robins