Holly gets ready to go global

Richmond teenager Holly Webster is off to dance in the Edinburgh Tattoo and the Virginia Tattoo.

The 16-year-old leaves on Monday to join a troupe of 30 of New Zealand's elite highland dancers who will perform at the Virginia event, the largest military tattoo in the United States.

It will involve more than 900 people from eight countries in a range of performances from displays of massed pipes and drums, to military drill team manoeuvres and highland dancers, in front of an estimated live audience of 30,000 over four days.

In August she will head overseas again, to dance at the popular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

To get the opportunity to dance in Edinburgh, Holly had to audition via video. She sent a recording of three dances.

Holly has been dancing since the age of 9 and has already amassed a collection of regional and national highland dancing championships and awards.

She's taught by Nelson's Helen Gilchrist.

She said few people realised what was required to highland dance at a top level.

"It demands an extremely high level of fitness and stamina, as well as technical ability, plus hours of practice every week.

"It's a full body and brain workout."