by Gail Cook from Hagley Community College
I was thirteen years old. I'd been dancing for five years, but only entered South Island competitions before.
The New Zealand Championships were my first big competition that included South and North Island and Australian competitors. I was scared silly. Then I was called to the floor to perform my first routine, a duo with Nadine. I couldn't stop shaking. All I could think was that there were way too many people out there watching and I was sure I was going to make a mistake and let Nadine down. But she wouldn't let me give up. So off we went out onto the floor.
Once I was out there in front of the audience and the judges my fears seemed to melt away. We performed the routine without a glitch and ended up winning that section. I was so proud. I'd actually done it and now, at thirteen, I was a New Zealand under 16 duo champion. Something I'd only ever dreamt about.
The only problem then was that I still had another two routines to go. A team with my first dance teacher, Nigel Mooney, my mother, and another lady, Leigh; and then a solo where I would be by myself. Once again I was scared and didn't think I could pull it off. But once again my name was called to the floor and as soon as I got out there I was fine. My team came second, and I won my solo making me the New Zealand under 16 solo champion.
So my first time in the New Zealand Line dancing Championships Competition was a life changing experience with winning two New Zealand titles. Four years on I'm now seventeen, still competing at New Zealand championship levels, and preparing for another competition that will be held in Tauranga at the start of October.
July 2004 updated Feb 2008