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Two still tango 50 years on

Niel Bertelsen didn’t woo his wife Janice straight away.

Before they even met in their late teens, Mrs Bertelsen, now 71, was sick of hearing about his dancing prowess from women in the late Doreen Dawson’s Druids Hall dance class.

But after she laid eyes on him in the mid-1960s, Mr Bertelsen’s moves quickly swept her off her feet.

“We got engaged on her 21st birthday,” Mr Bertelsen said.

“We married the following April at St Francis Xavier Cathedral and held the reception at Druids Hall, where we first met.”

It’s been 50 years since they said “I do” and the Bertelsens are still dancing — with three adult children.

The family has operated from four studios in Geraldton over the course of three decades, including current site of 12 years Casa Blanca Function Centre in Wonthella.

Niel and Janice Bertelsen married at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in 1969. They held their reception where they met, down the road at Druids Hall.Niel and Janice Bertelsen married at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in 1969. They held their reception where they met, down the road at Druids Hall.
Camera IconNiel and Janice Bertelsen married at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in 1969. They held their reception where they met, down the road at Druids Hall.Picture: Supplied/Supplied

There, they teach dancing and show moves to other couples planning to get married.

The pair advise the newly engaged to communicate well, share responsibilities and hobbies, never go to bed angry — and dance.

“Sometimes you can tell the blokes have been dragged in by their partners and they don’t want to be here at first, but afterwards I see a smile on their face,” Mr Bertelsen, 73, said.

“The dancers become a second family.”

After more than 50 years of dancing, the Bertelsens cast themselves as “semi-retired”.

Mrs Bertelsen still loves a good waltz, while her husband likes to jive.

He admits his body doesn’t hold up as well as it used to.

Today they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

Last week, they held a 100-strong early celebration at Casa Blanca, featuring line dancing, local band Kiss My Brass and old friends from Ms Dawson’s dance class.

Ms Dawson was a well-known dancing instructor in Geraldton who lived to be 100.

She died on August 1, 2017.

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