Talented dancers to test themselves against best

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 13:26 05/12/2012
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MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
DEVOTED: Nelson ballet dancers Isabel Norriss, 11, left, and Hannah Galbraith, 12, will compete in the Genee Dance Challenge at the St James Theatre in Wellington in December.

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A pair of aspiring young Nelson dancers have had their biggest break yet, making it into the final of a prestigious ballet competition.

Rebecca Bignall Ballet Academy dancers Isabel Norriss, 11, and Hannah Galbraith, 12, will compete in the Genee Dance Challenge, a junior version of the Genee International Ballet Competition.

The girls qualified for the competition by winning their categories in a regional competition in Christchurch in July.

The Genee International Ballet Competition is taking place at the St James Theatre in Wellington for the first time in New Zealand from tomorrow until December 15.

Janet Taylor, the national director of the New Zealand Royal Academy of Dance, said the junior competition was an exciting opportunity for New Zealand's best young dancers.

"The Genee Dance Challenge is the perfect platform for young dancers to test themselves against others from around the country," she said.

Isabel, who lives in Richmond, has been doing ballet for about five years. "I just enjoy the style of it. I would like to dance in the Royal New Zealand Ballet," she said.

Hannah, who lives in Brightwater, has been dancing for about nine years.

"I like how it's really elegant, and all the pretty costumes that we get to wear," she said.

Their teacher, Rebecca Bignall, said they were "extremely devoted" dancers, attending classes up to five times a week, as well as extra private lessons leading up to the competition.

"I think they have got a good future - not only in the ballet discipline, but also in contemporary and jazz. They have definitely got their sights set on being professional dancers, but they're not naive to the reality of it," she said.

Ms Bignall said competing on the same stage as the Royal New Zealand Ballet would be a special experience, as would watching the Genee International Competition.

"It's the cream of the crop from throughout the world. It's awesome for these little guys, because they get the opportunity to see what they can strive for," she said.

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