Salsa students seeking world titles

Dance troupe aims for stars in Australia

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:07 14/08/2014
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SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

ALL STARS: Blenheim Star Dance Academy dancers who will be heading to Australia in November to compete in the Salsa Solo International competition.

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Twenty-two Blenheim Star Dance Academy students, who danced their way to the top earlier this month, will head to Australia to compete in the world championships in November.

The dancers, aged 5 to 17, will fly to Brisbane for the Salsa Solo Australia and International competition, which runs from November 20 to 23.

Star Dance Academy Blenheim co-owner and coach Larissa Raukawa said some of the students had attended the international competition before, but for some it was their first time.

"I think the biggest challenge for the kids will be competing against each other . . . they will be putting it all on the line.

"We will go over there with the plan to take it out."

At the beginning of August, "a truck-load" of dancers travelled to Christchurch to compete at the Salsa Solo New Zealand competition, Raukawa said.

"It was a really neat event and we did extremely well - our kids carved up. They all worked very, very hard.

"Seeing them under the lights and watching them shine was a very proud moment."

Star Dance Academy won the overall salsa school title, beating top schools from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, she said.

Dancers who were in the top three in each category at the national competition automatically qualified for the world championships in Brisbane, she said.

Blenheim dancer Hannah Braddick, 14, had experience behind her having competed twice before.

"I'm nervous I guess but I will be training two to three times a week . . . I'm just going to try my best."

Eleven-year-old Tiarna Nukunuku said she would be training hard leading up to the competition. It was her first time competing in both the national and international competitions, she said. "I'm nervous and excited [but] I'm feeling good about it."

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