Dancing with dogs at the ‘Ekka’

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Karen Moore, who was a competitive ballroom dancer for 17 years, has given up conventional dance sport for a quirkier pursuit.

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And she and her four-year-old Belgian Malinois make a brilliant team.

They’re among the teams competing in the Dances with Dogs competition at the Royal Queensland Show, better known as the Ekka, in Brisbane.

The event provides handlers and their dogs with an opportunity to demonstrate a skilful, choreographed routine, performed to music.

Ms Moore, from the Gold Coast, started working with Zorba when the dog was eight weeks old.

“She’s a very high drive dog so it takes a lot of work to keep her calm and focussed before a performance,” Ms Moore said.

“We work together (on the choreography). She came up with a paw cross when I tipped my hat.”

Their team work and skill showed during the first day of competition on Friday with Zorba leaping on cue, weaving in and out of Ms Moore’s legs and even doing what resembled boot scooting moves.

The contests continue on Tuesday and Friday (August 13).

Ms Moore was once a professional ballroom dancer who gave it up to dance with her dogs.

“I’ve been a ballroom dancer for 17 years and I retired to dance with my dogs, which is much more satisfying,” she said.

This is the second year the Ekka has hosted the contest which, according to event co-ordinator Barbara Murfet, is a big hit with the crowd.

“It’s a very popular sport but it takes a lot of dedication to get the dog trained to that level of obedience,” Ms Murfet said.

Dances with Dogs is a new canine sport that was only recognised as an official sport in Australia last year.

The Ekka runs to August 14.