South Canterbury Highland dancers stole the show at a recent national competition.
Charlotte Lester, Isabel Clarke, Ashleigh Vaughan and Brooke Smith were the four dancers representing South Canterbury at the New Zealand Highland and National Dancing Championships in Blenheim last weekend.
Each dancer came back with a national title.
Smith won the title of New Zealand Highland and National Dancing champion under 16 years, winning six out of 10 championships. These were Highland Fling, Highland Reel, Sword, Reel-O Tulloch, Sean Truibhas and the Double Time Jig along with Clarke.
Smith is the first dancer in New Zealand to win the champion of champions title at 13 years old. This was after winning the under-14 champion of champions title on day two of the four-day competition.
She said she was surprised to win because of her age and the calibre of the other competitors.
"It was up to a pretty high standard."
This was the major competition of the year, said Clarke, who was practising most days in preparation for the competition.
The 15-year-old from Fairlie came third overall in the under-16 category and won the Sailors Hornpipe title.
Vaughan, 15, said the competition was good but came with a very stressful lead-up because of all the practices and pressure from previous years.
"I was trying to do better than I did last year and win my first title."
She achieved that in the Irish Hornpipe and ranked fifth overall in the under-16s.
Lester, 17, won the under-18 Highland Fling and was ranked fifth overall.
The experience of the competition was exhilarating as it was her last year competing in the under-18s, she said.
Smith and Vaughan learn dancing from Denise Johnston, and Clarke and Lester from Serena Lang.
- The Timaru Herald