New dance couple Josh Moroz and Sarah Au-Yeung are competing together for the first time at the Island Fantasy Ball at Beban Park social centre on May 25 and 26. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

New dance couple Josh Moroz and Sarah Au-Yeung are competing together for the first time at the Island Fantasy Ball at Beban Park social centre on May 25 and 26. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Local competitive ballroom dance couple competing together for the first time

Josh Moroz and Sarah Au-Yeung to participate in Nanaimo’s Island Fantasy Ball

Sarah Au-Yeung and Josh Moroz have only been dancing together since March, but this coming weekend the area duo will be showing their moves at the second-largest ballroom dance competition in British Columbia.

Au-Yeung and Moroz, who live in Nanaimo and Comox respectively, have modest goals for the 27th Island Fantasy Ball, which takes place at the Beban Park social centre on May 25 and 26.

“Not trip, don’t make a fool of myself,” Moroz said.

“Make our fans proud,” Au-Yeung added. “We’ve got some friends and my parents coming over.”

The duo have both been dancing for about nine years, and both got into it because they wanted to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.

Au-Yeung took a free tango class with the University of British Columbia Dance Club when she was a student there and was immediately hooked.

“I was never really good at the arts because I’m in sciences, I’m a pharmacist, so [I tried] something in the arts to be more well-rounded. Something outside of my usual field,” she said.

Moroz said he didn’t like dancing at all when he first started taking lessons, but within a few weeks he became addicted.

“I always got nervous and it was really hard to ever drag me onto a dance floor at weddings or any kind of party or social event, so I decided that I would one day try some dance classes to get a little bit of confidence for it,” he said. “I signed up for ballroom classes in Parksville in 2010 and I think my first dance I did was a cha cha.”

The competition is sanctioned by DanceSport B.C., the governing body for amateur competitive ballroom dancing in the province. Participants are awarded points that allow them to compete at larger events. At the Island Fantasy Ball, Au-Yeung and Moroz will be competing the mid-level standard ballroom and Latin dance categories.

“I am actually a little bit more fond of standard and she likes Latin, so we’re kind of splitting it back and forth. She’s doing standard for me and I’m doing Latin for her,” Moroz said.

Au-Yeung and Moroz’s coach Nelson Wong paired up the dancers because they have similar height, dancing ability and experience, as well as compatible personalities. Wong, also a director with the Nanaimo Ballroom Dance Society, said the duo are still developing but have “very good potential to be very good couple.”

“They practise well together, they understand each other well, understand each other’s personality and work with that,” he said. “Quite often in dancing, the harder the couple tries to work on [dancing together], the more likely they have conflicts because you try so hard.”

The dancers agree that they make a good team. Au-Yeung said they communicate well, which is an important factor because she has to be able to follow her male lead.

“I would say there’s pretty good chemistry, good connection,” Moroz said. “It works out great, too, because she’s a great height for me.”

No matter the result at the Island Fantasy Ball, Wong expects to see Au-Yeung and Moroz back on the dance floor.

“This is just the beginning,” he said.

WHAT’S ON … Island Fantasy Ball at Beban Park social centre, 2300 Bowen Rd., on Saturday, May 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Session 1), 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Session 2) and Sunday, May 26 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Session 3). Session 1 tickets are $25 at the door, Session 2 tickets range from $45 to $95 and Session 3 tickets are $30 and $45. Seating is reserved for Sessions 1 and 2. Tickets available through the Port Theatre.

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