Dancers excel at awards

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INVERCARGILL’S aspiring ballerina Breyah Takitimu has won the junior section of the South Island Ballet Award.
The La Muse dance school student competed against 38 others in the 12-14 year old category of the Christchurch competition two weeks ago, winning the title and $3000 in prize money.
She was also awarded a $410 scholarship for a week’s summer school tuition at the Anneliese Gilberd Academy (AGA) in Christchurch next year.
‘‘I didn’t expect to win. My goal was to get into the semi-finals, so I was so happy to be in the finals. It was really exciting,’’ Breyah said.
The South Island Ballet Award is for dancers aged 12-19 and is judged by a panel of national and international adjudicators. Competitors are required to take an adjudicator’s class and perform two dances — a set variation and their own choice.
Breyah’s mother Carrie Takitimu said it was a high calibre competition.
‘‘I was happy for her because she has worked hard and she deserved it.’’
The prize money would go towards Breyah’s tuition at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington and the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne where she attends classes several times a year, she said.
Dance teacher Hana Skeggs, who has taught Breyah since she was 3, watched her win.
‘‘I am stoked. It’s pretty huge because [the competition] encompasses dancers from all over the South Island.’’
Three other Invercargill dancers also received recognition at the competition. Shelton Shaw (16), also of La Muse, placed third in the senior section and was awarded an AGA scholarship.
Dominic Burrows, of the Shelley E Coutts Dance Academy, was awarded a Southern Ballet Theatre scholarship, and Jarod Murphy, also from the Shelley E Coutts Dance Academy, won an Australian Dance Performance Institute scholarship.
Ms Skeggs said she was pleased Invercargill dancers had been awarded four of the 12 scholarships available.
‘‘It validates the work that has gone in [and shows] … there is a pathway for those with a talent who are willing to work for it.’’
Breyah thanked her dance teachers, her parents and sponsors for their help and support.

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