After a one-year hiatus due to Covid-19, Harcourts Dancing for Hospice returns on August 7. All 20 dancers have been announced and the Rotorua Daily Post is profiling each pair to see what motivated them to take part and how their preparations are going.
"It's not every day you get the opportunity to be involved in something bigger than yourself."
Those are the words of 2021 Harcourts Dancing for Hospice participant Bryan Graham who has leapt out of his comfort zone alongside Julia Manktelow to support the cause.
Graham said the experience had shown him the extent of work Hospice did in the community.
"Chatting with people in the community who have had experience with Hospice - it means a huge amount to people," he said.
"The fact that they work across the age groups is probably something I didn't really appreciate. It's not just for old people.
"I've been struck by how many people relate to this and how much it means to them. Nobody has a negative story about Hospice and I think that says a huge amount given the number of people they deal with."
Manktelow agreed, saying she had family being supported by Hospice at present, and dancing had become an anchor of sorts.
"The people around me are so incredible, they've really become a family. It's nice to be able to spin away the problems of the world and just forget for a moment.
"I'm going through so much so I'm enjoying every moment of dancing. Some of the most important people in the world to me are going through cancer battles, so this is close to home.
"It's really beautiful to be able to give back and quite timely. It's one of the most touching things, the way this charity connects people. The team at Hospice are just incredible, they pour their heart and souls into the event."
Graham said training had been intense, as they both had busy lives, but enjoyable.
"It's been really good, the experience of being able to throw yourself into something where excellence is required.
"There's a nervous excitement building as we get closer to the date. It's been quite incredible, learning to dance like this has been quite an experience.
"I think we're our own worst critics but it's starting to come together. We've got the full dance, it's all there, it's a case of polishing it and making it look pretty."
Manktelow said she was proud of what she and Graham had achieved so far.
"I think the greatest growth for both of us has been learning that it's okay to look dumb or be a bit vulnerable," she said.
"I've grown substantially learning it's okay to look silly."
Graham said all the dancers this year were eager to put on a good show.
"Someone said early on that it's all about putting on a show on the night, it's about putting on a great show for the community and for Hospice.
"Every dancer is very focused on that, we want to do our best and make sure it's a great night. There's a real camaraderie among the group, it's a great bunch of people."
Tickets for Harcourts Dancing for Hospice are now on sale and available via Ticketmaster. All updates will be posted on the Harcourts Dancing for Hospice Facebook page.
The 2021 Harcourts Dancing for Hospice couples
Couple 1: Bernie Dawson and Danielle Maguire
Couple 2: Kraig Steiner and Melanie Short
Couple 3: Jonathon Hagger and Debbie Holmes
Couple 4: Tracy Leeke and Shane O'Driscoll
Couple 5: Julie Manktelow and Bryan Graham
Couple 6: Kaitlin Hyde and Liam Rehu
Couple 7: Lexie Stewart and Fisher Wang
Couple 8: Shannon Eldridge and Miriam Hewson
Couple 9: Nadine Katene and Logan Nathan
Couple 10: Peter Kingi and Tamsyn Peterson