Hawkes Bay Today – December 21st 2011
Dancers End Dream Year by Holding Their Own on Stage
By Rachael McNaught
Esther Juon Veitch from the Waipawa Dance Centre is very proud of her students and with good reason.
In September Juon Veitch’s students achieved grades well above the national and global averages in the British Ballet Organisation (BBO) exams, with 20 out of the 34 students presented for the exams achieving a grade of Honours.
While four of the awards went to young Grade 4 dancers, upcoming young star Anja Hardy also achieved Honours at the Intermediate Foundation level. But what makes these statistics even more astounding is that ten of the Honour students are from the adult ballet classes offered by Esther.
To achieve an Honours grade a student must have gained a mark of 88 percent or above for their exam. This is a result that is notoriously difficult to gain with this ballet syllabus, particularly in the higher grades and the Waipawa Dance Centre is the only school in New Zealand to present adult students for the BBO exams.
“I am so fortunate to have this group of dedicated ladies” says Juon Veitch of her adults, some of whom travel quite a distance to get to the Waipawa Dance Centre for class each week “the Grade 2 and 4 classes were very special this year and they just worked so hard. To get this result is absolutely fantastic”.
As a consequence of these exam results adult students Jackie Scannell, Kate Trusler, Sonia Harrison, Sasha Watt and Emma Evans helped to create history and open the door for a new generation of dancers when they joined other Waipawa Dance Centre members on stage for the open class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet on Sunday, much to the delight of tutor Vivencio Samblaceno Jnr, RNZB program co-ordinators and spectators.
Although incredibly nervous before heading on stage, all the dancers did a superb job, easily coping with the class, impressing their teacher and proving that age is certainly no obstacle when it comes to dance.
After a short break for Christmas Esther’s students are looking forward to starting 2012 with a special summer workshop featuring international contemporary dancer, choreographer and teacher Natalie Ayton.