Ngaere's ballet breakthrough

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 15:05 13/11/2012
Ngaere Jenkins
AMY JACKMAN / The Wellingtonian

Aiming high: Ngaere Jenkins is in the final of the Genee Dance Challenge.

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A local ballerina has pirouetted in red pointe shoes to the final of the Genee Dance Challenge.

Ngaere Jenkins, 15, who dances at Paula Hunt's Wellington Dance Academy, will perform in the prestigious competition at St James Theatre next month. She was one of the top performers at the regional heats last month.

Ngaere danced a neo-classical piece and said she was surprised to get through to the finals.

"I was a bit stunned because I really didn't expect it," she said. "It was definitely an awesome experience."

Ngaere said the best part about performing in the competition was dancing a new routine and her red pointe shoes.

"I've never danced anything like it before, so it was really good. My favourite part would be the red pointe shoes. I love the shoes.

"I'm also excited about dancing on the stage at the St James."

Ngaere started ballet when she was eight.

"I was doing jazz and wanted to learn a different style of dance.

"I stayed in ballet because there are more opportunities in ballet. It's harder, but there are things like the Royal New Zealand Ballet, which you don't have in jazz."

Ngaere's dance teacher and former Genee International Competition silver medallist, Anita Hutchins, is working with her to perfect her technique for the final in December.

"Ngaere is a very talented, dedicated student and I am sure that she will rise to the occasion and do well in the finals," Ms Hutchins said.

The finals will be judged by the artistic director of the Royal Academy of Dance, Lynn Wallis, and artistic director designate of Queensland Ballet and author of Mao's Last Dancer Li Cunxin.

Ngaere said the opportunity to perform for Mr Cunxin was exciting.

"It's one of the things I'm looking forward to. I've read the book and it will be great to dance for him."

Jana Baldovino and Lokyee Szeto from the Wellington Dance Academy also made it to the national finals.

The challenge is the junior version of the Genee International Competition, taking place from December 6 till 15 at St James Theatre. Genee Dance Challenge finals, St James Theatre, December 14, 5pm.

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- The Wellingtonian

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