A St Peter's College student in Palmerston North is fulfilling a dream after pirouetting his way onto the New Zealand School of Dance Certificate in Dance Performance programme.
Luke Cooper, 16, says the auditions were tough and when he discovered he had been accepted, he was over the moon.
"They were meant to send out a letter and then sent emails as some letters didn't reach people.
"So I was checking the letterbox thinking I hadn't got in, [then] checked my emails and I had."
To be selected, Luke had to attend three auditions with 250 others all vying for one of the 26 spots.
He did, however, have a slight edge on some of the competition.
For the past four years Luke had been selected as part of the New Zealand School of Dance associates programme. The associated programme selected 40 students aged 12 to 16 to give them the chance four times a year to attend the school and be taught by some of the school's teachers.
Also, earlier this year, Luke was selected to dance with the New Zealand Royal Ballet company in Swan Lake, an experience he hopes to repeat in the future.
However, all of this is only a small taste of what he can expect at the school with its gruelling schedule.
Luke will have to attend 35 hours of dance classes a week, on top of learning about nutrition, dance history, career planning, anatomy and music.
He will also be flatting for the first time - in central Wellington - which he is very excited about.
For the two-year certificate, Luke selected classical dancing as his major, with contemporary dance as his minor.
"I love dance but classical was always the most fun as it was the hardest."
He started dancing when he was 5 and has tried all types of dance, but his love of classical grew ahead of the rest.
To satisfy this passion he is a student at two dance schools so he can do double the ballet lessons, attending both Danceworks and Michelle Robinson.
"I want to dance, I want to have a career in dance, then after do something with it like teach."
As for favourite subjects and other hobbies, Luke's love of a challenge means he loves anything he finds difficult.
"I love subjects that push me . . . it's something I have been brought up with."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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