Ashburton youngsters to dance with NZ ballet

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Dancers Tamati Graham and Matilda Farr, of Ashburton, have secured positions in the Royal New Zealand Ballet's Christchurch production of Sleeping Beauty.

The hard work and training is paying off for Ashburton dancers Matilda Farr and Tamati Graham who have secured spots in the Royal New Zealand Ballet production, Sleeping Beauty.

They auditioned for the production last week alongside 150 dancers.

They did not have long to wait to hear of their success; the first rehearsal for Tamati was a three-hour session that afternoon.

Matilda’s rehearsal was the following day.

Tamati and Matilda, along with other youngsters, will appear in alternate performances during the Christchurch shows in the Isaac Theatre Royal; Tamati has a dancer role and Matilda a lilac fairy attendant.

They include evening and matinee shows from November 19 to 21.

The chance to perform onstage with New Zealand’s best is a dream come true for the two ballet dancers who are with Silhouette Studios New Zealand, in Christchurch. They are taught by dance teacher Kate Limuloa, a former royal ballet dancer.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity, it’s a dream come true,” Tamati, 11, said.

He has been dancing for the past three and a half years. He has an extensive repertoire that includes ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acro, and partnering classes. He also did many years highland dancing.

Tamati puts in around eight hours dancing a week between squads and private lessons.

But there is also practice at home.

It’s similar for Matilda, 10, who does around six hours dancing a week between squad/private lessons plus practice at home.

She has been ballet dancing since she was three and had her first onstage appearance in a Big Little Theatre Company production of Mid Summers Night Dream at age three and a half.

She now also does jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical and acro.

“I’m excited, a bit nervous, but just excited … and proud,” she said.

It’s a success well-earned given the countless hours and dedication the pair put into rehearsals. It’s also a credit to their supportive parents, ferrying them to lessons.

This week the pair are competing at the New Zealand Dance Awards in Christchurch. They are up against dancers from around the country in most genres, but ballet.