First exams blitzed
Levin's Keighley Woodmass only started learning ballet this year, but has gained the highest mark in her first graded examination.
Keighley, 9, was awarded Distinction in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) grade one exam.
Her ballet classmate Lizzie MacDonald, 9, who started learning ballet in Kapiti before moving to Levin last year, also gained Distinction.
The girls were the first two Horowhenua students of the Belinda Teixeira Studio of Ballet to sit exams, after the studio opened in Levin early this year.
Three styles of dance were assessed - classical ballet, free movement and character, the latter based on Hungarian, Russian and Polish national dances.
"To have Keighley and Lizzie awarded Distinction in their first graded exam was a very pleasing result," Mrs Teixeira said.
"Both girls display strong technique for their grade, as well as good response to music and performance qualities.
"They also really enjoy it, with positive attitudes, including the maturity to understand what is required."
Keighley was relieved to have passed the exam, mainly so she "didn't have to sit it again".
"I enjoy dancing and always dance around at home and one day Mum asked if I'd like to do ballet classes."
Lizzie said she enjoyed the challenge of sitting the exam.
"I want to be a professional ballet dancer when I grow up, but I'll need to do a lot of practice."