Shelby Wheeler works her magic on the dance floor at the ballroom dancing Queensland Open.
Shelby Wheeler works her magic on the dance floor at the ballroom dancing Queensland Open.

Belle of ballroom brings home gold

EMERALD has produced some pretty talented stars and Shelby Wheeler is just another to add to the ranks.

The 19-year-old has a passion for ballroom dancing and shows no sign of backing down.

She competed in the Queensland Open at Jupiters Casino at the Gold Coast over the Easter long weekend and after months of solid training and effort, came home with the goods.

Shelby placed first in the Latin section of the competition and third in both the New Vogue and Standard sections.

The Emerald local said she was stoked with her performance and couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

“It was a really good feeling and a nice surprise,” she said.

“They are very good dancers that I was competing against.”

First introduced to ballroom dancing by a friend six years ago, Shelby said she had loved it ever since and couldn’t imagine her life without it.

She trained five days a week for about two hours and travelled to Rockhampton every Friday night to have lessons with Justyn and Amanda Manderson.

She said the six-hour round drive was well worth it.

“I just love it,” she said.

“The costumes and the music – it’s a passion.”

Last year’s Queensland Open was the first competition Shelby competed in and she took home all first placings in the individual beginners division.

She said this year was the first time she had competed in the open couples division, where she was paired with a partner for the event.

Shelby said her family was very supportive of her love for ballroom dancing and that her dad and uncle even made the trip to Rocky with her every week.

“It’s a nice night out for them too,” she said with a laugh.

“They are very, very supportive.”

Shelby has another competition coming up in June, where she will travel to Brisbane to test her competition skills on the dance floor once again.

“I’m very excited,” she said.

“I haven’t really been to any other comps like it, so I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like.”

Shelby also does business and administration work for her mum and dad at their automotive business in town.

The teen has lived in Emerald her entire life and said she loved the area for the community and great people.

Although she doesn’t want to leave the town, Shelby said she would look at moving away to follow her dreams if the opportunity arose.

“I would probably move away for dancing,” she said.

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