It was their first dance competition in three years and Stratford man Darryl Hasler was feeling nervous.

He's been doing rock 'n roll for 21 years, and took up ballroom dancing only five years ago. He hasn't competed often, and said he always got the jitters.

His dance partner, Christine Berridge, is from New Plymouth and was enjoying the occasion - especially the dance floor in the Whanganui War Memorial Centre.

"It's a really nice floor. You float nicely on it," she said.

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She's been dancing for seven years, starting with modern jive and leading on to ballroom. Yesterday the pair were to compete in ballroom, new vogue, Latin and modern jive - as well as having spent all day doing rock 'n roll on Saturday.

They each had at least three changes of costume as the day progressed.

A lot of people watched the dance sport competition, sitting in rows of chairs or at tables around the outside of the floor. Whenever there was a break in competition but music was playing couples glided out on to the floor to practise - in any style of their choosing.

Taking that opportunity helps you keep limber and keep moving, one competitor said. He likes dancing for the fitness it gives, and the mental focus needed while performing.

"You have to practise most nights," he said.

Among the dancers were seven teams, who each get to choose their own music and their moves and have the dance floor to themselves for the team competition.

Moll's Dolls, from Christchurch, wore blue sequins and have a tap number in mind. Also doing tap are Whanganui group Sylvia's Tappers.

Another group from Tauranga, the TGA Beasties, wore black T-shirts and planned to dance in modern jive.

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