The instantly recognisable Gold Coast dance school owner Mark Wilson is evangelical in his devotion to his craft.
Indeed, the original Dancing with the Stars judge and five-time Australian Dancesport champion enthuses when he says “dancing is the answer” for those seeking a lift to their fitness, confidence, self-esteem, and general wellbeing.
“We all know life throws up many challenges and sometimes when our personal relationships and social lives need a boost, dancing is the answer,” the Mark Wilson Dance Centre principal said.
“Once someone dances with someone else they are moving as one to music, and they can feel their bodies just tune in and they can feel something dynamic happening.
“It is ethereal; you are dancing in someone’s arms and before you know it, you start rediscovering yourself,” he said.
Mark says he is genuinely excited about DanceSport debuting as a sport at the 2022 Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast [4-13 November – DanceSport on Friday 11 November], alongside fellow newcomers to the 44-strong sport schedule, road cycling and pickleball.
“DanceSport is the competitive version of the traditional ballroom dancing and right now in Australia the scene is positively vibrant,” Mark said.
“And it’s not hard to see where the inspiration has come from.
“Over the past couple of decades, we’ve had some great dance movies come along, such as Strictly Ballroom and on TV Dancing with the Stars is in its 19th season, so it’s in our faces.
“And the Masters arena is going wild because people are inspired.
“Masters Games present a major event for people to dance under a huge spotlight and we have many, many people in our Gold Coast dance classes, and across all dance classes across the city and beyond hugely excited to be a part of it,” he said.
Pan Pacs DanceSport co-convenor Alex Perilla says the event will offer entrants great exposure to a major multi-sport event.
“People are going to love the whole atmosphere with the level of competition and the social aspects such as the entertainment at the Games Village at Kurrawa Park,” Alex said.
“And it’s great that all the dance clubs on the Gold Coast are so motivated to be involved and ready to welcome visitors from all over Australia and overseas.
“It’s going to be a landmark event for the profile of our sport,” he said.
Two people who can’t wait for the action to begin are Robina couple Diane Watt and Ian Raggett who met at a dance class 15 years ago and haven’t looked back.
They’ll be sweeping the floor dancing Ballroom Latin in the Latin American category – one of three dance styles in the competition alongside Standard and New Vogue and all with entry levels from recreational to professional.
“Ian and I are really excited to enter the Pan Pacs to compete against couples from all over,” Diane said of lining up against dancers from Australia, New Zealand and as far afield as Singapore.
“We started out by doing Street Latin and Salsa and Merengue, but these days we stick to Ballroom Latin, it’s all we dance.
“For us it’s so much more fun and vibrant and it’s got so much more life, and everyone does their own choreography.
“We like the variation and spontaneity of Latin because it’s so alive and so much more fun to watch,” she said.
Ian agreed as he reflected on the dance-averse social restrictions of the past couple of years.
“We are keen to have plenty of fun after a couple of disrupted years.
“Covid was interesting to say the least.
“We had a couple of years of not going out dancing and we found we did forget some things, but as soon as we hit the dancefloor again, it all came back quickly,” he said.
The 2022 Pan Pacific Masters Games run on the Gold Coast from 4-13 November 2022 with participants in all sports urged to get their entries in by 31 August to take advantage of the generous Early Bird entry fee.
The DanceSport competition, supported by DanceSport Australia, will be held on Friday 11 November at the Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium.
The Mark Wilson Dance Centre runs classes from beginner to professional at the Surfers Paradise Golf Club at Fairways Drive, Merrimac every Tuesday evening.
The 2022 Pan Pacific Masters Games is organised by Events Management Queensland and is proudly supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.