A Timaru teenager will show off her highland dancing skills on the world stage.
Ashleigh Vaughan has been selected to dance in the New Zealand team at the Edinburgh Tattoo in August.
The 15-year-old is one of 30 highland dancers across the country to be selected. She is the only dancer from South Canterbury, although a friend has since auditioned as well. When she found out the news, she said she was so excited, she cried.
"All my friends were texting and asking me if I got in, but the email hadn't come yet. Then my mum played a joke that I wasn't in."
Ashleigh started highland dancing 11 years ago. "At A & P shows, mum said I wouldn't leave the dancing."
She was originally going to do tap, but was too young and was told to try highland dancing instead.
The move paid off, as she has won numerous competitions. Most recently at the National and Highland Dancing 60th Annual Festival in Waimate last weekend, she won four events including two in her under 16 age-group and two in the under 18 age-group.
Ashleigh is practicing twice a week in preparation for an exam and the national competition. She said she has put a lot of pressure on herself to win the nationals as she placed second last year.
Practices for the Edinburgh Tattoo start in June with a group practice, with the kapa haka group, held in Auckland. The team then goes to Edinburgh in July for a week of practices and the three week concert.
While overseas, Ashleigh will be out of school but she said a teacher from Auckland will travel with the group to make sure they keep up with school work.
To get to Edinburgh, Ashleigh is fundraising to pay for flights and uniforms by holding raffles and putting away the winnings from competitions.
- The Timaru Herald