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Ballroom champions return to Nanaimo to glamorously tear up the dance floor

Island Fantasy Ball celebrates three decades this weekend, June 1-2
Canadian Champions Thomas Zinger and Sarah Stolarsky placed second at last year’s Island Fantasy Ball and will return to Nanaimo for the annual competition this weekend, June 1-2, at Beban Park social centre. (Island Fantasy Ball Photo)

For 30 years, elegant ballroom dance competitors have floated across Nanaimo dance floors and winked at spectators.

The return of Island Fantasy Ball this weekend, hosted by the Nanaimo Ballroom Dance Society, will see approximately 100 competitors display poise and precision at the Beban Park social centre. Those competing include accomplished and renowned dancers from across Vancouver Island, elsewhere in Canada, the United States and beyond. Competitions for championships, newcomers and students will be showcased over the two-day event.

President of the Nanaimo Ballroom Dance Society, Sarah Au-Yeung, will return with partner Josh Moroz for the standard category this year, as well as part of the ballroom dance society’s formation team.

An immaculate performance by a competitor takes hours of training, practice and dedication, the president said, as they have to be both adaptable and detail-focused while performing with other couples on the floor.

As the show-opener on the evening of Saturday, June 1, the formation team of 12 dancers will perform a medley of different styles and will also debut a new showcase dance.

Joining the Nanaimo Ballroom Dance Society on the floor will be several mainland groups such as the UBC Dance Club from Vancouver, the World Dance Co. from Burnaby and Kelowna Ballroom.

The grand performance will showcase invited couples who will compete in international open categories; Armand Fazullin and Klaudia Iwanska from Poland; Nicolo Barbizi and Sara Ros Jakobsdottir from Iceland; Christopher Affonso and Holly Hatleberg from Massachusetts; and the Canadian champions Thomas Zinger and Sarah Stolarsky.

Au-Yeung, also the co-chairperson of the organizing committee, said some of the committee members have been part of Island Fantasy Ball since the beginning – helping to organize officials, schedule the dances and arrange the itineraries for the international couples.

“Their leadership has been great and we’ve learned a lot from them,” Au-Yeung said, adding that the dedication of all the volunteers over the decades is what makes the annual competition so strong.

Tickets and further information about Island Fantasy Ball can be found online at

READ MORE: Student dancers return to Salish Secondary for biggest high school dance competition in B.C.

Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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