Arianna to dance for NZ in contest
For Arianna Jaggard, dance is a way to express herself and an opportunity to play a different persona on stage.
The 12-year-old West Harbour resident is heading to the Gold Coast this week to represent New Zealand in the Australian National Dance Competition.
Arianna will perform in three pieces and says her dances are like musical theatre in that they tell a story.
"I love putting on the makeup and costumes and am excited to see the other girls from different countries perform," she says.
One of Arianna's jazz dances is a burlesque piece called Big Noise and tells of a young girl who's a good dancer but shows off about her talents.
Her mum Maree Jaggard says watching Arianna perform is incredible.
"I'm often standing on the side stage and it's like she flicks a light switch on and a whole different persona comes over her," she says.
The competition is the biggest in Australasia and sees more than 5000 competitors from throughout Australia, Asia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand attend.
Arianna blitzed through the regional competition in September 2012 and achieved first place in her age group in four out of the five categories she entered.
Arianna attends Pinehurst School and has been dancing at the Tania Foster School of Modern Dance in Hobsonville since age 4. She's been competing in modern dance for three years and is tutored by Emma-Kate Putnam, who's helped choreograph the dances for the competition.
Her gruelling schedule sees her train six days a week in jazz, contemporary, ballet dancing, as well as pilates.
Arianna is excited and a little nervous to perform in Australia.
"I know it's going to be a really tough competition but it will be an amazing experience.
"I'm also excited to be able to support the other New Zealand competitors as well as watching dancers from different countries," she says.