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Tip tapping to Australia

NIGEL MOFFIET
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2014
ADITAP

HAPPY FEET: Left: Chantal Tuala, Megan Atkinson, Marguerite Howlett, Michelle Lees and Tiana Tuala want to go to the Australian Tap Festival in Melbourne in September.

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Young dancers are on a mission to cross the ditch and they're tapping their feet to get there.

A group from Papatoetoe Renaissance School of Dance have been given the opportunity to attend the Australian Tap Festival in Melbourne this year.

They've called themselves ADITAP - All day I tap.

The festival in September is "the Mecca of tap dancing", group member Marguerite Howlett says.

All five dancers, aged 17 to 27, are eager to go to the event for the "valuable experience".

"We are hungry to learn everything we can from the world's best tap dancers and share it with the next generation of dancers in South Auckland."

The event is not just a competition - it also includes a week of workshops and performances by world-class tap dancers who will be offering tips and advice.

"This would be a great opportunity to learn from the world's best," Howlett says.

"We don't get this opportunity often and it's almost a dying sport in New Zealand. People kind of see it as old-fashioned, but it doesn't have to be that way. We do modern tap to top-40 music."

The group has been dancing together for five years and everyone has more than 10 years' tap dancing experience.

They only committed themselves to the upcoming festival this year.

Member Tiana Tuala says everyone is working hard around university and work commitments to train each week.

The Australian festival will not only be an enriching opportunity, but also eye-opening as two of the dancers have never travelled overseas before.

"There's nothing here in New Zealand to extend ourselves . . . this will be opening us up to more knowledge . . . it will be a dream come true," Tuala says.

Now the hard work begins as the dancers prepare to raise $15,000 for the trip.

Tuala says it's a lot of money, but the group is determined to get there.

Tomorrow they'll be sizzling sausages as well a holding a garage sale, car boot sale and coin trail - with tap dancing performances throughout the day, of course.

The fundraiser runs from 8am till 2pm at 133 Kolmar Rd, Papatoetoe. Donations can also be made at givealittle.co.nz/cause/aditap

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- Manukau Courier

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