South to host dance competitions

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Southland dancers who will compete in the under 16 years New Zealand championship events at the New Zealand Highland and National Dancing Championships this month (back, from left) Rachel Checketts (15), Paige Taylor (14), Samuel Abbott (14), Xanthe Belesky and (front) Nicole Green (12), Tess McLeod (13) and Oliver Abbott (12). Photos: Supplied

THE Piping and Dancing Association of New Zealand – Southland Centre is holding the New Zealand Highland and National Dancing Championships at SIT Centrestage Theatre in Invercargill from June 22-24.

Executive committee member Danielle Smith said the event would begin at 1pm on Friday, June 22, with an opening ceremony about 3.30pm.

Laura Boniface (13).

The competitions would continue throughout the weekend until early afternoon on Sunday, with about 140 dancers from throughout the country, including 54 from Southland, she said.

There would be numerous events with dancers aged from 5 to about 21-22, Smith said, however the under 16 dances would be New Zealand championship events.

There would be 10 dances for the under 16s to compete in, with the winner of each becoming the New Zealand champion of that event.

Points from all 10 dances would also be tallied up, with the highest scorer being named the overall New Zealand champion in under 16.

Smith said eight dancers from Southland would be competing in this age group.

Senior classes (under 16, under 18, and 18 years and over) had New Zealand championships every year, she said.

Organisations could apply to host the championships, and Smith said the Southland Centre chose this year’s under 16 event because they knew they would have quite a few dancers within that age group.

“We thought it would be a really good opportunity for our dancers to compete.

“It’s really nice to be able to do it here in their own backyard.”

She said it would also be an opportunity for dancers who are not in that age group yet to see a high calibre of dancing.

“It’s something to aspire to as well.”

She said many dancers started quite young and worked very hard.

“It is a lifelong passion and commitment for many people.”

The competitions were open to the public and there was no door charge to attend, she said.

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