Under the spotlight in her sparkly gown, with her ornately styled hair and make-up, Robyn Masters has not a care in the world.
Her focus is on ensuring she remembers her dance steps, and that they’re beautifully synchronised with those of her partner John, and the music.
A talented ballroom dancer, it was this lifelong passion that helped her through what she describes as the most dreadful time in her life, the loss of her husband Darryl, two years ago.
Married for just 12 years, the couple were embarking on the retirement they had worked hard for, Robyn as an office assistant and Darryl working in industrial mechanics.
Together they engaged Invest Blue’s Rob Pollard, ten years ago, to ensure they had the correct structures in place to fulfil their main retirement goal, travel.
Trips within Australia were the couple’s priority, and as such, they bought a van and veered west.
A five-month trip across the Nullabor and into Western Australia was first on their agenda back in 2016, Darryl taking great pride in showing Robyn Kununurra where he had once worked.
“I have very special memories from this trip, and I’ll always be grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy those wonderful experiences together.”
Robyn and Darryl enjoyed a comfortable retirement, and while Robyn admits she always worries about overspending, Rob continues to ally her fears, even encouraging her to spend.
“You do things once, do them well and enjoy them, it’s a sentiment I now live by.”
Grateful for her relationship with Rob, one that is as much a friendship as it is professional, it bought her great comfort during her time of need.
To be fully confident, and comfortable, with Rob handling her financial affairs after Darryl’s sad passing proved a huge relief and allayed any extra stress during a stressful time. However, during those dark days, it was one of the things she loved the most that emerged as her greatest challenge, plucking up the courage to dance once again, but this time on her own.
“It took me months to walk through those doors by myself, but once I finally did it provided the greatest healing possible.”
Robyn’s dancing ensures she’s kept both physically and mentally challenged – demanding routines and a constant stream of new steps and dances to learn to keep her mind and body active.
The theatre of ballroom dancing, including the glamorous gowns, the hair and make-up are also part of the appeal, the excitement and anticipation exhilarating.
Having danced since childhood, from ballet as a young child through to folk dancing through primary school and eventually her medium of choice, ballroom dancing, it’s a passion that has helped her remain strong throughout life’s challenges.
It’s also bought her the gift of companionship when she least expected it, with her new partner John a former dance friend to both she and Darryl.
Together with John, who is also her dance partner, she is now able to continue enjoying her dancing, and the couple is regulars at events across Australia.
Robyn, from Tamworth NSW, and John, from Coonabarabran, NSW, navigate the countryside together, from dance festivals in Dubbo to Norfolk Island.
She laughs that travelling to dance is quite different from travelling to sight-see, however, occasionally they can synchronise both.
A recent trip to New Zealand to dance provided the perfect opportunity to explore the country, Robyn and John were thoroughly amazed by the scenery.
Together with her two daughters, Robyn also visited Denmark and Norway recently, describing it as one of the most unique holidays she has taken.
“The people, the scenery, everything was so different, it was fascinating and just so beautiful.”
With the support of her family, her dancing community and Invest Blue, Robyn has navigated herself through one of life’s greatest challenges to once again find happiness.
After such heartbreak, to now enjoy the life goals she set so long ago, and with someone to share it with, was unexpected but rejuvenating.
“I didn’t imagine ever being this happy again, and although I think about Darryl every day, it is nice to be able to enjoy life again, and I’m forever grateful that I can afford to continue dancing and travelling – who knows where I would be without it.”