Judges 2021

Now down to business ... our Judges are all experienced professional dancers themselves. They will be watching our contestants every move.

Praise will be given when deserved but woe to those who come up wanting ...

Bring it on!

  • Vanessa Cole

Vanessa Cole

Vanessa Cole has over 35 years experience in the Ballroom dancing industry. In her teenage years Vanessa was 3 x consecutive amateur Latin American champion with her brother Scott & travelled extensively competing & training abroad. Before her recent move to Nelson, Vanessa resided in Christchurch spending many years honing her craft teaching dance which saw her go on to participate in 3 seasons of Dancing with the Stars including series win with Simon Barnett. She recently translated her skills to the theatre stage to choreograph for the Showbiz hit production of Matilda & loves teaching wedding couples their first dance. Vanessa has also been involved in many charity dance events such as dancing for a cause & is thrilled to be coming along to be one of our 3 judges at our NBS.co.nz Dancing For a Cause on the 27th May 202

  • Alison Leonard

Alison Leonard


Alison Leonard fell in love with ballroom dancing at the age of five after her big sister dragged her along to dance class.  Alison is a Nelson girl and has spent her adult life in Broadcasting on many radio stations around NZ

She has competed in dance competitions nationally and internationally, being chosen to represent New Zealand in 1994 at the South Pacific Dance Championships in Australia. Alison gave up competition dancing in 1997.

She was a presenter on TVNZs Good Morning for 8 and a half years and was a judge on Dancing with the Stars for the first five seasons. A dancing highlight for Alison was representing NZ at the South Pacific Dance Champs in Australia. A love of Dance and support for Hospice sees Alison return home to help out for a worthy cause.

  • Scott Cole

Scott Cole

Christchurch native Scott was forced into a Ballroom at 8yrs of age and despite hating it with a passion, turned out to be rather talented and in time it became a true passion. This was back the 90’s when the only way to see high level dancing was not via YouTube but on the occasional VHS tape which would periodically arrive from the UK. (this relative lack of exposure could explain why Scott and Vanessa turned up to their first big international Championship in Germany carrying giant backpacks, looking like babes in the wood who took a wrong turn on their way to a giant hike in the Alps.) That first dodgy international exposure however led to success, with Scott and Vanessa winning the NZ Latin Champion for 3 consecutive years. Scott then became a Londoner for 18 years during which he time trained under the worlds best coaches and had the opportunity to perform and compete with several world champions. He finished his competitive career fairly early with a high of winning the Embassy Ball in Miami and a career best of 19th place in one of the “big 5” world competitions: the UK Open Professional Latin. Scott returned home 7yrs ago and made his way to Auckland where he works in great demand as a freelance dance teacher. He is DWTS alumni cast in the 2015, 2017 and 2018 seasons. He made a foray into Amateur Theatre playing a lead role in Baz Luhrmans “Strictly Ballroom” as Frans dad who happened to only speak in Spanish Scott loves to feel important and pass judgement on people so he is overly eager to stick it our dancers tonight! Scott recently got engaged to his partner of 5yrs Hayden Boyce so hopefully this will have him in a lovely mood and saying nice things to our couples!


  • Clinton Randell

  • Jane Baken

Clinton Randell

Jane Baken

Jane Baken is a singer , music manager and occasional MC. She runs Antipodes Records and StudioBox Creative, managing recording artists across Aotearoa and Australia. Having come from a background in performing arts, with a Bachelor of Performing Arts from NASDA,  Jane has worked professionally as a singer, actor, vocal coach , director and musical director. After developing SOUNDSTAGE performing arts school in Nelson, Jane moved to Sydney where she became an artist booking agent for major events and international cruise lines. In this time she also began managing musicians. Outside the 9-5 Jane sings, hosts and MC’s events and conferences. Utilising her talents to support charity events for Hospice has been on Jane’s annual calendar for as long as she can remember and something she is honoured to be able to do.

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