Wagga dancers are celebrating after a phenomenal showing at the 75th Australian DanceSport Championships in Bendigo.
Sabrina Donebus (two championships), Daniel Arnold and Jason White all came home victorious, giving Wagga's Foxtrot Dance Studio four championship titles at the sport's most prestigious event.
In addition, Wagga dancers claimed a combined five seconds, two thirds, two fourths, two fifths and two sixth placings.
Donebus, 16, was nothing short of brilliant in winning the Standard and Latin in the Under 21 Recreational Lady and came second in New Vogue.
"Definitely very pleased. I didn't know if I was going to be able to come away with the win but hoped," Donebus said.
"You definitely get a feeling if you've performed well but it's hard to tell because you're not looking at the other people."
Her father noticed she didn't stop smiling for the whole weekend and Donebus, who has loved to dance for as long as she can remember, declared it a dream come true.
The teenager was partnered by Arnold (some events are judged for individuals).
The talented Arnold, 20, has been in the sport for 15 years. His own reward came with a championship title in Adult B Grade New Vogue with partner Paula Thompson from Wodonga. The pair train in Melbourne regularly and their win confirms they're ready to challenge the best in Australia.
"We were absolutely stoked because there's been a lot of hard work go into it," Arnold said.
"We meet in Melbourne for lessons and train with our coaches there (two or three times a month) so there's a lot of commitment, a lot of time and a lot of money goes into it."
In contrast, White, a former boxer, took up ballroom less than three years ago. His win in the Adult Recreational Man Latin (along with seconds in Standard and New Vogue) was a massive thrill.
"I was happy to come away with the win. A lot of the time I've fallen short so I was glad to finally seal the deal on it, especially at a comp like that," White said, loving his appearance at the 'big time'.
"I thought I'd be lucky to place most of the time. It was the first time I've brought out the big smile, because the big lights and stage, it brought out the performer in me."
Latin he rated his least likely event but put the result down to being more relaxed.
The 24-year-old and partner Grace Rogers also performed well in the Adult Recreational Couples with seconds in New Vogue and Latin and third in the Standard.
The Wagga champions have all been taught by Wagga's Kerry Maunder.
"It's pretty rare for one studio to walk away with that many titles, let alone a regional studio," Arnold confirmed.
More than 700 dancers were at the long awaited 75th Australian DanceSport Championship. The event was cancelled in 2020 and then postponed last December due to COVID.
"For anyone to even make the finals is usually pretty good. To have so many come first and place highly, it was a tribute to the dedication of these guys who have really put in the work," studio co-owner Darren Conway said.
He and wife Sue were third in the Masters B Grade New Vogue, meaning an Australian Championship continues to elude him, but the Foxtrot pair were thrilled with their Wagga dancers' results.
Adding to the successful weekend, Rogers had commendable 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes in her Adult Recreational Lady competitions while Ayannah Harvey was 4th in Junior C Grade Girl New Vogue and Isabelle Hernan was 5th in that discipline and 6th in the Latin.
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