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© Copyright 2005 VRRDA
Rob Ewart President
Teenage Rob had admired the Rock dancers in the ‘60s but, being a Mod then, he never really learned how. Much later he discovered that Rock'n'Roll dancing was still very much alive. He joined Just Rock just a few months before it closed. Rob credits Kevin & Carol Ross of the Fourmost Dance Company for stimulating his interest in the more technical aspects of this form of dancing.
Along with his wife Margie, Rob loves the raunchiness of Melbourne's pub scene and prefers dancing to Roots Rock, Rockabilly and R&B.
Dancers will recognise Margie. She is the cheerful, helpful and patient person that greets them at the front desk at the State Championships.
Once retired after a notable career in Local Government, supporting community arts, sport and leisure activities, Rob felt obliged to get involved with the VRRDA.
During his time on the Committee Rob has served as Publicity Officer and Treasurer. He manages this website and the VRRDA’s Facebook page. He is also a Forum Moderator on www.vicrock.com.au.
Wearing his now well known white jacket Rob compered his first Rock’n’Roll dance competition in 2006 and has been the MC for every of the State Championships and VRRDA managed regional comps since then.
2022/23 VRRDA Committee of Management
Annette Niven Secretary
Annette loves all forms of dance and it has been her main hobby throughout her life. She started dancing at an early age; learning ballet and tap when young. She took up ballroom dancing in her mid-
Annette began learning Rock'n'Roll dancing in 2001 at Fourmost. Rock'n'Roll is now her way of keeping fit while having fun and making lots of new friends.
With her partner, now husband, David, she has competed in VRRDA State Championships since 2002, with impressive results. They have regularly competed in the SE Australian Championships and at both Wintersun & the Adelaide Championships, consistently bringing home more trophies.
Annette is a respected senior secondary school teacher.
David Gilfillan Treasurer
David started to learn Rock & Roll in 2002 through the inspiration of his partner Annette Niven, who at that time was a member of the Fourmost Dance Company. It was under the watchful eyes of both Kevin and Carol Ross, the teachers at Fourmost, that David found a lasting desire to learn the art of dance.
David openly admits that through the friendships shown to him from others within the dance group, and from dancers around the Melbourne area and Interstate, he has formed lifelong friendships.
Both he and Annette have competed locally and Interstate, with much success over their dancing journey, and can still be seen today in and around the competition scene.
David has had an extraordinary military career in the British Army. He survived active service in Northern Ireland and the Gulf. David is internationally renowned as a Drum Major. He has led pipe bands at notable events including the Edinburgh Tattoo, in the course of which he has met world leaders including US Presidents, the Queen and the Pope.
David's first love in sport would have to be that of following his beloved Manchester United which he has done since 1973. He is a big fan within the AFL of Hawthorn FC and is a keen fisherman in his leisure time, given the opportunity.
Anne Truex Hermens Vice President
Anne had a love of music from an early age. In fact, she had a crush on Paul McCartney and the Beatles from the age of three. Her mother had been in the Corps de ballet of the Borovansky Ballet Company and toured Australia & New Zealand with them. Saturday afternoons were spent listening to great ballet music. Sunday afternoons were spent listening to the Rolling Stones, Beatles, etc, choreographing dance routines with her friends to perform later for the family. So began her life with music.
Dancing didn’t happen until she was dragged to dance lessons by a work colleague in October 1994. Jeff Beck, from Star Belle dance studio, was her teacher for Rock’n’Roll and Ballroom. After the first session she was hooked and didn’t miss a lesson from then on. She was keen to learn (learning both the lead & follow parts) and attended many workshops (Marcus & Baerble, Fourmost, Adrian, etc) as well as many dance classes and dance festivals over the years.
In 1996, with only 18 months tuition under her belt, she began teaching Rock’n’Roll. In 2002, she formed Hooked On Rock. This is her own Rock’n’Roll dance group, providing weekly lessons, workshops and dancing opportunities for her group.
Anne was a committee member of the Gippy Rocks Festival, a 3-
Anne was inducted into the Victorian Rock’n’Roll Dance Hall Of Fame in 2018.
She considers being on the VRRDA committee a privilege, but “a bit scary!”
Don Malek Committee Member
Don is a business executive who has a great passion for competitive dancing, which now includes being the VRRDA Senior State Title holder in 2015 & 2017, VRRDA Teams and Triples winner, ARRDC New England Senior Title holder (Swing section), a TV performance and a number of Melbourne Open & Wintersun podium positions to name a few.
As Don put its, this, of course, would not be possible unless we acknowledge Kevin & Carol (Fourmost Dance Company), Steve Octigan (Two’s Company dance studios) and Nigel & Linda (Jive Cats) for their passion to teach.
Don & Cheryl’s passion has taken them throughout Australia and to international events such as the New Zealand Rock'n'Roll championships, Swing & Lindy championships in LA and they even danced with the locals in Alaska, Nashville, NY, Canada, Germany, Slovenia, Caribbean and beyond. Don and Cheryl have made many friends and enjoyed what dancing has given them over the last few years, and as such, Don joined the VRRDA with the philosophy of "wanting to give something back" to a dance style that has given both of them so much.
Derek Wagner Committee Member
Derek took his first Rock’n’Roll lesson in 2006, with his wife Julie and hasn’t looked back. With a love of music, dance and like-
A founding member and many years as President, Derek most of all enjoys encouraging beginners to discover their love of dancing. He also loves it when the Cobram River Rockers host dances in Cobram, where the club is famous for its country hospitality as well as the generous suppers.
Derek and Julie actively attend as many dances in Victoria as they can, supporting other regional clubs. As a result of this they have made so many lifelong friends along the way.
The VRRDA State Championships is certainly one of the highlights on the Wagner’s annual calendar of Rock’n’Roll events. They haven’t one since they first attended in 2010. The 2016 Championships were made even more enjoyable when their daughter Bec won the Youth State Title.
In his spare time you will find Derek tinkering in his shed. An avid collector of vintage motorcycles and automotive memorabilia, he commits quite a bit if his time to restoration projects.
Derek is looking forward to being an active Committee Member, helping to promote Rock’n’Roll dancing and keeping the love of dance alive.
Annette McLeod Committee Member
Annette is the Treasurer of the Cobram River Rockers, a community based Rock’n’Club with a solid association with the VRRDA.
She explains, “My dance journey started about 35 years ago with Ballroom where I eventually got to the stage of working on my Gold Medals in all three styles until I left Melbourne in 1989. I didn’t set foot on a dance floor again until 2016 after my husband passed away. ( He wasn’t a dancer).
I felt the need to get back to dancing which I have always loved , so off I went to my first Rock’n’Roll lesson and haven’t missed a class since. It’s been an amazing journey with wonderful friendships made; joining Cobram River Rockers, serving as Treasurer for the past five years and now progressing to teach Rock’n’Roll, Sequence and New Vogue dancing under the guidance of our club instructor. I also get time for some line dancing as well.
My aim is to promote Rock’n’Roll dancing in our regional areas and to encourage people of all ages and walks of life to give it a go!”
Fiona Barclay Head Judge
Fiona has a long and well established history of working to develop and support Rock’n’Roll dancing. She has been a guiding force in the the on-
Fiona has served on the committee of the Colac Rock’n’Roll Club and is now the Treasurer of the Geelong Jukebox Rockers.
Fiona and her partner Malcolm Barker (VRRDA ex-
Fiona and Malcolm share a passion for archery and also, now that the worst of Covid seems to have passed, they hope to resume their international travels.