Dancers step up
The Bollywood Dance Troupe at Glenfield College takes its craft very seriously.
Members practise every chance they get - interval, lunchtime and after school as well as attending four dance classes a week.
"It's become our lifestyle," dancer Jade Egan says. "You start to live and breathe dance. It becomes who you are."
Dance teacher Brigitte Knight is happy her charges have a chance to show off their skills for a second year running at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park on December 8.
The troupe will perform a high-energy Bollywood dance show, which has been choreographed by Turanga Merito.
The seasoned performers aren't too nervous as they are used to dancing for large crowds.
They have performed at a Rugby World Cup event as well as New Zealand Fashion Week and Diwali Festival in Aotea Square.
Reece Adams likes appearing before a big audience because it gives the group the opportunity to put on more of a show.
"I find with the large crowds you have to try harder to impress, which makes it more fun."
Ms Knight says her high expectations of the 14-strong troupe are matched by the flawless performances the students deliver.
The St Heliers resident was a professional dancer before she began teaching. Her disciplined approach is the best preparation for those who want to dance for a living, she says.
The four year 13 students' dance skills were vigorously tested recently in a three-day audition process, with a positive outcome for all. They have been accepted into the Unitec bachelor of performing and screen arts programme and will major in contemporary dance.
Ms Knight says this is quite an achievement and shows where natural talent and hard work can get you.
The students have heard the degree is intense but are ready for the challenge.
"We're used to three or four hours of dance practice a day. At Unitec it's eight hours a day. It's going to be exhausting," Jade says.
"It helps that we will have each other for support though," Chaya Rose Shepherd says.
"Being in this troupe is like being in a family. It increases self-confidence and has helped a lot of people come into their own."
They acknowledge that their teacher is also a large part of their success.
"If it wasn't for Ms Knight pushing us as hard as she has, we probably would've died during the three-day audition. She's our inspiration," Reece says.
Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park is a free event and starts at 7.30pm in Auckland Domain. Proceeds from collections taken during the evening will go to Surf Life Saving New Zealand. Suburban Newspapers, publisher of the East & Bays Courier and part of the Fairfax media Mighty A Network is the major print media sponsor.
East And Bays Courier