Terpsichorean triumph for Southland five
Five young Southland dancers have shown they can pull the right moves by coming top in New Zealand in their dance exams.
La Muse dance studio jazz students Danye Takitimu, 6, Breyah Takitimu, 8, Bella Robert, 12, and Bridgette Pink, 17, scored the top marks in New Zealand for their respective levels in the American Jazz Dance Affiliation exams. Former La Muse pupil Nicola Russell, 18, has already left to study fulltime at Jason Coleman's Ministry of Dance school in Melbourne, but was ranked the top dancer in the advanced solo level exam, and also won the Mary Evers Award for best advanced dancer.
La Muse teacher Hana Skeggs said the results helped students realise they did not need to live in big cities to become top dancers.
"It's cool for the kids down here to know that . . . they can hold their own."
She put their winning performances down to discipline, natural dancing ability, and a lot of hard work.
The younger pupils came to lessons about four hours a week, and spent time at home practising, while Bella and Bridgette could spend more than 12 hours a week in the studio, she said.
The older girls agreed it was difficult fitting teenage essentials such as homework and socialising in around dance practice, but Bella had a solution: "You stay up late."
Breyah said she sometimes practised with her younger sister Danye to help perfect their moves.
The girls are fundraising for a trip to Palmerston North later this year, where they will study with tutors from Australia and the United States.
The Southland Times