By PHILIP CHANDLER
TAKE your partner.
More than 100 dancers, many from around New Zealand, are attending Queenstown’s first modern jive event this weekend.
Called ‘Jive & Thrive’, it runs from tonight night till Sunday, and is linking arms with new local mental health charity, Southern Wellbeing Trust.
The general public are also invited to a free ‘newcomers’ class’ at the Queenstown Memorial Centre from 4 till 5pm on Saturday — though a gold-coin donation to the charity’s also welcomed.
The event’s being organised by Emma Dagg, who runs Dance Social classes every Monday night in Arrowtown, and Katie Bridges, who brought Ceroc — a branch of modern jive — to Asia when she lived in Hong Kong.
Bridges, who as a world-leading Celtic harpist goes by her other name, Kate Targett-Adams, says the idea for the event arose just three months ago — while running one frosty morning with her friend Anna Dorsey, who co-founded Southern Wellbeing Trust.
‘‘Now I’ve stayed here long enough, I’d started getting itchy feet to organise something,’’ Bridges says.
Linking with Dorsey’s charity made sense, she explains, ‘‘as dancing gives you such a boost of endorphins it’s really good for your mental health’’.
She describes modern jive as ‘‘a social partner dance, danced to all styles of popular music’’.
‘‘And it’s one of the easiest partner dances, so it’s great for people who are new to dancing and just want to have some fun.
‘‘You don’t need a partner, you don’t need experience, and once you become a proficient dancer it’s just so versatile — you can dance at any party or wedding, in a bar, you find yourself dancing wherever possible.’’
Bridges says she and Dagg are surprised and delighted at the interest their event’s created, with dancers coming from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
‘‘Everybody’s very excited about this as a destination for modern jive.’’
The ‘jive & thrive’ theme’s been chosen as, by bringing in tourist dollars, the event’s helping the community ‘thrive’, as well as boosting mental health.
Besides benefiting from gold-coin donations from the newcomers’ class and a free yoga class at 9am on Saturday, Southern Wellbeing Trust’s also receiving contributions from tonight’s dance and pizza party venue, The London, and accommodation venue Holiday Inn Express and Suites.
Bridges says local jive dancers are also excited about crewing for the weekend.
‘‘They’re all getting stuck in, and I think they feel proud a national event is coming to Queenstown.’’
The organisers are also being supported by Nadi Wellness, which is sponsoring the yoga class, Patagonia Chocolates, Chard Farm, Cookie Time, The Amazing Travelling Photobooth and NZSki.
Jive & Thrive, tonight, dance & pizza party at The London, Saturday, workshops, fun comp, newcomers’ class at 4pm and evening Snow Ball party at Queenstown Memorial Centre, Sunday, ski day and dance challenge at Coronet Peak, apres-ski party at Lake Hayes; tickets from Humanitix.com