By Robyn Bristow

Designer dance socks, which are helping point budding ballerinas in the right direction, wooed the crowd to take out the People’s Choice in the North Canterbury Business Awards.

Sponsored by the North Canterbury News, the Dance Sock Academy received a whopping 895 votes to claim the 2021 People’s Choice title.

The award was announced live online last week in lieu of an awards dinner which was scuttled by Covid-19 restrictions.

The first runner up was Waghorn Builders with 758 votes, and the second runner up with 754 votes was So You!

The Dance Sock Academy is the brainchild of Jenna McKenzie, the principal of Rangiora-based Jenna McKenzie School of Dance.

Jenna continues to be amazed her “crazy little sock idea” has universal appeal, and that it won the People’s Choice accolade.

“I am excited, honoured and very grateful to the dance community, its families and my friends.

“It is a new business and it is so cool to have so much support,” says Jenna.

She loves to make ballet magical and interesting for her students and uses imagery and props to help them with their technique.

The socks with fairies, wands, stars, and with a few strings attached, are now proving to be an invaluable extension to this.

Jenna, learnt ballet from age 6, and has taught in Rangiora for over 20 years, and also in London for a time.

It took a year to develop the design of the socks, incorporating a lifetime of dance teaching tricks. Rangiora’s Create Design helped bring the project to life with final designs, a logo and the Dance Sock Academy website.

Jenna has 12 retailers around the world including in Italy, Chile, Australia, South Africa and Scotland.

At present she is working on re-packaging the product, and approaching more distributors and wholesalers overseas.

“It is super exciting, and so cool to have the support, and to win the People’s Choice.”

For every pair of ballet socks sold, the Dance Sock Academy donates a pair of sports or school socks to Kiwi children in need through The Clothing Project.