Seachange Arundel Resident Dorothy Hodder was featured on the front page of the Gold Coast Bulletin recently as she prepares to compete to in the World Ballroom Championships in Britain in May. Congratulations to Dorothy, she is an inspiration and we are lucky to have her as a part of our Seachange Community.
Full article from the Gold Coast Bulletin below:
AN 80-year-old dancer discovered by a former Dancing With The Stars judge is on her way to competing in the World Ballroom Championships in Britain in May.
And Dorothy Hodder is totally unfazed by what lies ahead.
“It doesn’t matter if I come last,” she said. “At least I will have danced with some stars and I will love the experience of being on that dance floor.
“I am not all nervous.”
To make Mrs Hodder’s entry even more impressive, she will be competing in a glamorous ball gown made entirely by herself.
“It’s hot pink with silver lace and covered in Swarovski crystals,” she said.
“I’ve already spent two weeks working on it and it will take me another couple of weeks to finish it.”
The grandmother of three – who last danced in her twenties in New Zealand – was discovered by dance judge Mark Wilson, a five-times Australian dance champion and Dancing With the Stars judge from 2004-2010.
She and her husband Thomas had moved from Christchurch to the Gold Coast in 2013.
The couple settled at Seachange Arundel but two years later and after nearly 54 years of marriage, Mr Hodder passed away.
“A neighbour asked if I would be interested in doing ballroom dancing,” Mrs Hodder said.
“She had no idea I had done it before and we went to a class with Mark Wilson, who was a judge on Dancing With The Stars.
“I made sure I stayed right at the back of the class, but half way though it Mark came over to me and asked me to dance with him.
“He said I hadn’t lost it – even though I hadn’t danced for 50 years. That’s a long time.”
Mr Wilson encouraged Mrs Hodder to dance in competitions again and put her in touch with professional dancer Daniel Buckley, who at 32, is nearly 50 years younger than her.
Last year, the pair won a competition at Toowoomba and they are now practising four times a week in preparation for the over-71 age group at the world champs.
“I also go to the gym twice a week,” she said.
Mrs Hodder is no newcomer to dance, having done ballet and tap as a child and then ballroom dancing from the age of 15.
She and her dance partner Brian Jones went on to become New Zealand ballroom and Latin American dance champions, representing their country and competing in Australia.
“I retired at the age of 28 and I hadn’t dance since.”
Mr Wilson was effusive in his praise of Mrs Hodder: “She’s a most inspirational woman – she’s been a good businesswoman, looked after her family and has a great sense of humour.
“She has a never-say-die approach to life and we’re blessed to have her in our lives.
“She has huge talent – you don’t go to the world champs if you don’t have it.”
Dorothy Hodder, far left, with friends Valarie Maudsley, Caroline Wood and Rebecca Mudgway Photo: Regina King.