Dance company seals major haul of trophies

Students win praise after shining at national level





The students of DLdance Waipukurau continue to keep Central Hawke’s Bay on the national dance map after enjoying further success. In June, children’s auditions were held to join the Royal NZ Ballet Company on stage in its Napier performance of Cinderella. Livia Laird and Ella-rose Brooker were once again successful in achieving their dream of performing on stage with the RNZB dancers. The pair also appeared in 2020, along with Alfie Kuklinski from DLdance, in the RNZB performance of Sleeping Beauty. Over the July school holidays the annual bbodance (previously British Ballet Organisation) Dance Days was held in Christchurch. Dance schools from across Aotearoa gathered at Saint Margaret’s College for five days of classes across the genres of ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary, ending with a Friday gala concert. Internationally renowned tutors were back in attendance this year, as the open borders have allowed them to return and bring their expertise, choreography and the latest in dance syllabus developments and teaching techniques. Dance Days began its five-day programme with the opportunity to perform theatre award solos, duos or group dances. These were selected by examiners during earlier dance exams and those achieving the highest grades were judged alongside other gold award winners across the country. Eight DLdance students had achieved gold medals in their local exams, earning the right to perform at the national theatre awards. Two of the DLdance students received outstanding achievement awards at the national level this year, Ella-rose Brooker (classical ballet) and Miere ChristensenWhite (tap waltz). Eleven trophies for excellence in their grade, judged across a week of syllabus classes, have made their way back to shelves in Central Hawke’s Bay homes this year. The haul is a high achievement for the dancers in what is a comparatively small dance school with fewer students than most. In 2021, DLdance students brought home eight awards across ballet, tap, jazz and solo performance. This year the students have raised the bar even higher, often working remotely via Zoom classes due to Covid-19 disruptions. The awards brought home from this year’s Dance Days acknowledge the hours of training they put in, and the hard work and commitment from teacher Deborah Lees. Deb says she is extremely proud of all the dancers’ hard work, and the positive attitude and energy they maintained throughout the week. “Central Hawke’s Bay is fortunate indeed to have supportive families who help DLdance maintain their impressive presence at such national events. “Talent abounds in CHB, there’s no doubt about it.” Excellence trophy winners: ■ Hannah Thomas — Excellence in Grade 3 Ballet and Grade 1 Jazz Livia Laird — Excellence in Grade 4 Jazz Ella-rose Brooker — Excellence in Grade 3 Tap and Junior All Rounder Scholarship (Ballet, Tap and Jazz) Isabelle Howard — Intermediate All Rounder Scholarship (Ballet, Tap and Jazz) Jade Harrison — Excellence in Intermediate Foundation Ballet Hannah Jamieson — Excellence in Grade 4 Tap Hannah Potter — Excellence in Intermediate Foundation Jazz Miere Christensen-White — Excellence in Intermediate Ballet and Intermediate Foundation Tap.