Troy Baker and Kelly Dench

Style: Rock N Roll
Teacher: Karen Saul, Whakatane Rock n Roll Club
Sponsor: Gowing & Co Lawyers & Husqvarana Chainsaws and Mowers

  1. What have you enjoyed about the ‘Edge Realty Facing with the Stars’  journey to date?

Kelly: The dancing!  I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do but it’s so much fun.  Meeting all the different people down at the Rock n’ Roll Club has been awesome, such a friendly bunch of people.  They are so passionate about what they do and that makes me want to continue dancing or continue being involved with the club even after this journey ends.

Troy: Surprisingly the dancing. To be surrounded by like minded people all willing to help has been a total blast. Also the people who have come together to help and support us as well as the challenge of attempting something in which I have NO natural talent.

2. What have you found difficult?

Kelly: The time factor is probably the main thing.  Trying to fit in dance training with your dance partner and teacher, Rock n Roll club on a Tuesday night, personal training at the gym, family time plus going to work every day has been a bit difficult, but I think we all face issues with having enough time these days, no matter what we are doing!

Troy: Co-ordination seems to be the biggie. It will come in time but until then, some things are a struggle. Also some of what would seem to be the most basic of things that just take longer than they should to sink in. I start to think I’ve lost it at times.

3. Any injuries or challenges faced to date?

Kelly: I tore my calf muscle during dance training in early July.  I was in the middle of a twirl and thought my dance partner Troy had kicked me in the back of the leg.  When the leg pretty much collapsed underneath me, I realised something was wrong. After 3 hours in A & E and a visit to physio it was identified as a torn calf.  It has taken four weeks to heal so I have had to sit on the sidelines and watch which has been a bit frustrating! I can’t wait to get back into it and hope it hasn’t put me too far behind everyone else!

Troy: I haven’t suffered any injuries yet but certainly expect to in the future as the routine becomes more technical but my partner has. This has meant training with someone else which has me progressing and her on the bench until things come right.


4. Tell me about your dance style, partner and how training has been going?
Kelly: Rock ‘n Roll was not one of the dance genres I had in mind when I agreed to sign up for this!  I’d always imagined myself doing something quite different like possibly Ballroom or Latin. But I love it.  It’s so fast and energetic with lots of dips and twirls. I love the fact that you can make this style your own, all the dancers at the club have their own individual styles when doing the same steps and it’s fantastic to watch!  Troy Baker, my dance partner has made this journey even better for me. He’s got some great ideas and is so determined to do well on the night, it’s infectious. I had not gone into this with a competitive attitude, my main objective had been just to try and NOT be humiliated but Troy has given me a desire to not only do my best, but maybe to win this thing!

Troy: Rock n Roll Training is awesome and totally enjoyable. Patience is short as we both was to be experts yesterday. We are both conscious of the risks with both being novices and can’t wait to nail the big moves.

5. How are you feeling about the big event?

Kelly: I’m so nervous about the big night but have a lot of family and friends who have committed to supporting me by being in the audience so that makes me feel a lot more confident to know they will be there cheering me on!  The Life Education Trust is such a great charity to be involved with and so important for our young ones so when I get anxious, I keep telling myself what a great event this is and how lucky I am to be a part of it! I will do my absolute best on the night and if I fall over, will pick myself up and keep on dancing!  A great analogy for life actually!

Troy: Great until I saw the setup for the Rotorua event. I just turned and walked back out in cold sweat. It really brought home what we were doing and what we faced. Also excited as it was truly amazing so I also honoured to be a part of it all.

6. Any other comments, funny stories, things you’d like to share?

Kelly: The Whakatane Rock n Roll Club has just won the rights to host the NZ Rock n Roll dance Championships in 2020 in Whakatane! So if you want to learn how to dance, club nights are every Tuesday evening at the Caledonian hall, Kopeopeo. It’s such a blast!

Troy: GREAT, FUN, super hero coaches who have become our dance mums and dads. What will we do when it’s all over???