After a forced hiatus due to Covid-19 last year, Harcourts Dancing for Hospice is back and the full list of participants has been revealed.
Once again, 20 local amateurs will leap out of their comfort zone and on to the stage as part of the Rotorua Community Hospice's major annual fundraiser.
This year, Rotorua Hospice CEO Jonathon Hagger is walking the talk and participating in the event himself.
"I was encouraged to do it in 2020 but sadly we had to cancel the event," he said.
The participants have now all met and been paired up by the dance instructors who will choreograph and teach them their routines for the night.
"This is all completely new to me but I'm so pleased that I got paired up with [Kaitao Intermediate deputy principal Debbie Holmes] because our learning style is very similar," Hagger said.
"When we're practising, we can read each other's stress levels and back off a bit when we need to. It is fun because starting from a zero base and in the space of seven days, we've got the very introductory steps now in play.
"It has a very fulfilling feeling to it. The feeling has changed from nervous-scared to nervous anticipation."
Rotorua Community Hospice needs to raise $1 million each year to operate and is aiming to raise more than $100,000 through this year's event.
Hagger said as well as the money raised, the event created awareness.
"The event itself does generate a lot of income for Hospice, which we need on an annual basis. However, the greater values we get is community awareness of who we are and what we do.
"Hospice cares for and serves patients in their homes when someone is coming towards the end of their life.
"The dancing format is nice in that people get to know the hospice and recognise the name. So, when people do come to a stage that they need us, they remember us from the event."
Hagger said the way the Rotorua community came out to support the event every year was "amazing".
"The day the Rotorua Daily Post published that the event was going ahead, the next morning we had messages from people saying 'we want tickets'. It's always a sell-out.
"We like to think of it as the social event on the calendar for the year. From that May to October period there's not much going on in terms of big functions, so this really hits the spot.
"This event engages a lot of different people from different industries and different walks of life. We have lawyers, teachers, beauticians, scientists, councillors - there's such a range of people involved."
The next part of the dancers' journey will be working hard on their routines to perform at the Energy Events Centre on Saturday, August 7.
Tickets go on sale in mid-June, and 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: Mahia Keepa-Hale and Fisher Wang
Couple 8: Shannon Eldridge and Miriam Hewson
Couple 9: Nadine Katene and Logan Nathan
Couple 10: Peter Kingi and Tamsyn Peterson
Meet the dancers
Scion scientist Bernie Dawson
"After never dancing, I am following up on my New Year's resolution to learn ballroom dancing so that I can go social dancing with my beautiful wife."
Rental worker Danielle Maguire
"I dance because Hospice means a lot to me and my family. They were with us when my husband was sick. Good cause and great charity."
Steiners owner Kraig Steiner
"It is a privilege to be considered to dance this year, Hospice delivers such an amazing service to hundreds of people annually and relies on fundraising support to provide this care."
Sport Bay of Plenty communications manager Melanie Short
"I'm celebrating new ways of being active and just saying 'yes!'. It's is also about acknowledging the important work Hospice does."
Rotorua Community Hospice CEO Jonathon Hagger
"Every day our patients and their whānau inspire me in how they demonstrate courage and aroha. My hope is that through this very special event I can demonstrate those same characteristics."
Kaitao Intermediate deputy principal Debbie Holmes
"I love the work that Hospice does as well as the event, the costumes and definitely the shoes."
Rotorua Lakes Council health, safety and wellbeing adviser Tracy Leeke
"I'm really excited to be part of Dancing for Hospice 2021. It's an opportunity to be a role model while stepping out of my comfort zone and helping to raise funds for a fantastic cause."
Kilwell Fibretube production supervisor Shane O'Driscoll
"I am dancing because I was asked by Don Gunn to do it a few years ago and since then have seen him and his family supported by Hospice."
Stuff Bay of Plenty customer success manager Julia Manktelow
"Hospice has always been a cause dear to my heart. I'm dancing for those that are now stars above and to inspire others to step out of their comfort zones."
Timberlands IT and digital manager Bryan Graham
"I want to challenge myself and push my comfort zone while meeting new people. It's a great opportunity to give back to the community, and raise money for a great cause."
Resene's Kaitlin Hyde
"The ability to fundraise for a very deserving charity and inspire the youth and Rotorua community to get into events like this."
Blinds on Location's Liam Rehu
"I decided to join Harcourts Dancing for Hospice because family and friends of mine have been helped by Hospice. It's a fantastic charity and if I could give something back to hospice I will and this is the perfect time to put myself out there and help those in need."
Caci Clinic beauty therapist and skin specialist Mahia Keepa-Hale
"Hospice has always been there when close ones have passed away, especially my dad." She also says she is dancing "because nobody else from Caci wanted to".
Rotorua Lakes councillor Fisher Wang
"I'm very excited to be participating in Harcourts Dancing for Hospice this year with such an incredible group of people to support the very important work Hospice does for our community and also in memory of my mum who passed away from cancer."
Tompkins Wake litigation lawyer Shannon Eldridge
"Having attended the last two competitions as a spectator, it looked like a really fun way to raise money for a worthy cause."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce vice president Miriam Hewson
"In my capacity as a business coach/accountant, it is my job to take my clients outside of their comfort zones. When I was asked to dance it was a no brainer. I am 100 per cent out of my depth, but it gives me the opportunity to walk the talk. To be able to contribute and support such a deserving organisation is simply a privilege."
Capers Epicurean's Nadine Katene
"The reason I have chosen to be a part of this beautiful opportunity is to grow strength within myself. Doing something completely out of my comfort zone, also something to add to the many goals I've achieved so far. Meeting new people and getting among the wairua pai buzz. I'm excited to see how this unfolds."
McDonald's Rotorua's Logan Nathan
"I decided to give it a go because I was inspired by all the amazing work hospice does for our friends and whānau. And I guess I have to finally show my dad who the better dancer really is."
Zorb Rotorua duty manager Peter Kingi
"My name was put forward by a work colleague and was contacted and asked to do this so I apprehensively took up the challenge. I also have known a lot of past contestants and they have told me what a great event to be a part of and a great cause it is for."
Patchell Industries Limited senior costing clerk Tamsyn Peterson
"Being a spectator at the previous two HDWS shows, this was definitely something I could only dream of doing. With the support of my employer, Patchell Industries and my passion for dance I now have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing show and helping such a worthy cause. Dreams can come true."