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The Dance Review - Anthony Hurley reports on The Outside Change Cup

June 8th 2024

Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia


I am delighted to report that the 2024 presentation of the Outside Change Cup, organised by Jason Beaman and Brent Olifant was another resounding success.

The welcome party on the Friday evening got the weekend off to a great start. Everyone was presented with a personally labelled champagne bottle made entirely of chocolate.

The home of this popular event is the magnificent Plaza ballroom in the heart of Melbourne city. Built in 1929, its beautiful Victorian decor produces a unique atmosphere which is perfect for the competitions. Namely, Australian New Vogue, Ballroom and Latin American.

It is nice to report that there were eleven overseas countries represented this year to combine with Victorian and Australian interstate couples.

Fourteen Australian adjudicators and four from overseas were engaged to select the lucky couples who would make it through to the evening finals. The day commenced very early to cope with the large entries. Regular comperes Laurie and Diane Peterson announced the commencement of the first qualifying events. It was so encouraging to see ballroom with a "full house" at the early stage of the day's programme.

All age groups and grades were well catered for. Junior U16, Under 21, Rising Stars, Adult (Amateur), Masters (Seniors) a much nicer name for this age group. Finally Professional, all to be competed for over the three styles, so one can imagine it's a very busy programme for both competitors and adjudicators alike.

I must at this stage of my report mention the wonderful sponsorship received this year. A total of twenty five companies and individuals who were supportive of this year's Outside Change Cup.

The major sponsor was the Dancesurance Dennis Foley Career Development Award, an amazing $10,000 presented to the winners in the Amateur Ballroom. This amount is the largest ever received in Australian competitive dancing and this year is the seventh time they have presented this award.

After the day session was completed, the ballroom was vacated and transformed into a wonderland of dining tables, and when one enters the ballroom in the evening for the gala dinner and finals, to be greeted with a glass of wine is the hallmark of the whole production. Chandelliers and table candleabra bring the ballroom alive and create an atmosphere to encourage the competitors to excel.

Having just returned from Blackpool, I was delighted to hear the Ballroom and Latin finals enjoyed the Empress Orchestra's wonderful music. It certainly inspired me and the competitors.

The ever popular and amazing Julie Shen from Singapore. A beautiful octogenarian and a major sponsor, supporter and close friend of Jason and Brent, danced an amazing slow foxtrot, partnered by Jason Beaman.

Major Results

Amateur Ballroom was won by MITCHELL KIRBY & BRIENNA PINCER from Western Australia who won a close battle with the 2nd placed Taiwan pair FRANCO HOU & IRENE CHANG.

Amateur Latin American was a double for China.



Professional New Vogue was won comfortably by CHRISTOPHER WILSON & JORDAN KOPP-COLLINS

Professional Ballroom

1st place MICHAL LE & SANDRA JABLONSKA, from Poland, fresh from their Blackpool success.

2nd place from Taiwan PIN SHEN & PAGGY HU.

3rd place from Japan NORIYASU TANAKA & MICHIKO KATO.

Professional Latin American

1st place from Italy MASSIMO ARCOLIN & LAURA ZMAJKONICOVA. So popular with the australian audience. They also won last year.

2nd place from China CHUANCHUN LO & YANYAN DENG.

3rd place from NSW Australia THABANG BALOYI & CHANG WAN.

Overall in the twenty one events, Australian couples excelled throughout the day and did very well.

Following the excitement of the competitions, Sunday morning was a workshop and private lessons from overseas and Australian coaches.

The Sunday evening farewell "surprise dinner party" was held in the famous Melbourne aquarium. It was quite a unique experience to have a manta ray or a shark swimming by as we enjoyed the meal and jovial company. A wonderful ending to a perfect weekend.

Thanks to Jason, Brent, Anne and your supporting team. 2025 is, I am sure, already in the planning stage.

Image credit: Kerrie Rolls Bourke




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