Twirling towards sparkling future

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 14:47 16/10/2012
Madi Cronin
Photo: FAITH SUTHERLAND/FAIRFAX NZ
Leaps and bounds: Young ballerina Madi Cronin hopes to one day join the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

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A budding ballerina intent on twirling her way into a career in the spotlight is gathering momentum with an impressive array of achievements.

Twinkle-toed Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School pupil Madi Cronin daydreams of dancing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, when she finds the time.

Madi began dancing at the age of 3. At 13 and in her final year at intermediate, she attends eight classes a week at the MacDonald School of Dance and puts herself through a demanding daily drill.

Every morning she gets up at 5.45am for an hour’s strengthening and flexibility training.

Twice a week she runs to maintain stamina, and in her spare time she visits the studio to practise.

It is a regime that might make a grown dancer weep, but the young ballerina cannot be faulted on her drive.

‘‘I want to study with the New Zealand School of Dance and then hopefully get into the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB),’’ she says.

Her support team is mindful of the development of her young muscles.

A dancer’s physique should be strong but lean, mum Tracey Cronin explains, and so far it appears the experts like what they see.

Madi this year received six distinctions in examinations crossing a variety of disciplines, including jazz, tap, two ballet exams, contemporary and hip-hop.

She loves all forms of dance but it’s the world of tulle and toe shoes that she dreams of.

‘‘I just like how there are so many ways that you can interpret any style of dance and how it can be really versatile. I like them all, but ballet is probably the direction where I want to go,’’ she says.

Madi is anxiously awaiting to hear whether her recent audition has earned her a spot in the New Zealand School of Dance’s exclusive Junior Associates programme.

She attended a class held by RNZB mistress Turid Revfeim ahead of the company’s Cinderella tour that brought the family classic to Palmerston North in August.

She cites young RNZB dancer Lucy Green, among the RNZB stars of TV3’s popular reality show The Secret Lives of Dancers, as a role model.

Madi visibly thrills as she recalls the company’s performance of last year’s widely lauded triple bill, from Here to There, which featured three short modern ballet ensembles.

‘‘With that one, they had more of a contemporary style and even though it was still ballet, I just really like how it can be changed,’’ she says.

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Tracy Cronin is full of support for her daughter’s dancing career, but she knows Madi’s  determination to dance for a living will mean some tough decisions about schooling, because a ballerina’s professional career starts young.

‘‘We will have to cross that bridge if it comes.

‘‘It’s been on our minds, because we’re aware of it.

‘‘But she’s already doing what she loves to do and when her dance career begins, we’ll make sure she has the academic background for it,’’ Tracy says.

‘‘That moment could be coming at a lot younger age for her.

‘‘We so want her to follow her dreams and we will offer her support in doing that.’’

Beyond the stage, her school principal, David Jopson, praises Madi’s academic performance.

In her two years at the intermediate school she  has thrown herself into a whirlwind of activity, doing charity work and serving on the student council.

She competed at Mathex and in a national cooking challenge, is the recipient of several academic awards, attended the Tournament of Minds problem-solving competition in Perth, has sung in a choir, participated in speech competitions and debating meets, finished a triathlon and played basketball until her dance timetable put paid to her slam dunks.

Next year, Madi will take her talents to Palmerston North Girls’ High School, but first, she plans to slip off her pointe shoes and put on street gear to compete in next month’s New Zealand Association of Modern Dance national hip-hop dance competition in Wellington.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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