Teen making her ballet dreams come true

Shelby Wells loves all kinds of dance, but particularly ballet.
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Shelby Wells loves all kinds of dance, but particularly ballet.

Shelby Wells dreams of tutus, pas de deux and pirouettes, and she is on her way making those dreams a reality. 

The Manawatu College 13-year-old thrives on tough physical workouts – barre and centre routines that would make many rugby players sore. 

She studies at Catherine Inger School of Dance in Levin, and pulls on her dance shoes to practice six times a week as well as competing in dance competitions throughout the North Island. 

While Shelby says any type of dance is fun, ballet is where her heart lies. She regularly competes in eight different categories, including lyrical, contemporary, barefoot, character and classical. 

"I just love the movement, and you get real good at it, and get to see your friends and dance together."

Her love of the traditional dance form grew from her sense of wonder at seeing a professional ballet production when she was a small girl.

"They were just so beautiful and I just loved it, so I started wanting to be one of them."

Now, her top ambition is to dance for the Royal New Zealand Ballet company one day. It's a tough goal, but Shelby is determined to put in the hard yards and her competition results show she is headed in the right direction. 

In May, she won all five dance categories she entered in a national competition at the Rosewood Ballet competition, in Lower Hutt.

Earlier this year, she also brought home two firsts, two seconds and two third places from the Napier Performing Arts Competition, and a first, second and third place from the five–day Palmerston North Dance Association competition. 

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"I just really want to keep practicing every day, so I get better at it."

In July, she sits her next annual ballet exam, so for now, whenever she is not in school, Shelby is eating, sleeping and breathing ballet every chance she gets. 

 - Stuff

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