Emerald Academy of Dance student Matilda Kerr.
Emerald Academy of Dance student Matilda Kerr. Contributed

Rising to the occasion

A LOVE of dance, hours of practice, and a humble attitude contributed to the stunning successes of Emerald Academy of Dance students who were part of an award-winning team at the recent Rockhampton Festival.

Two of the academy's students - Matilda Kerr and Daley Catip - also qualified for and competed in the National Dance Titles in Caloundra. Daley was placed in the top five dancers nationwide.

A group of 17 students competed at the festival and every dancer was awarded a place in each event they entered. Emerald Academy of Dance won nine overall awards.

Academy director Jane Davis said the students also performed their annual production, Great Gatsby's 1920s, last weekend.

"Obviously we're very proud and it's nice to see that the hard work pays off,” Ms Davis said.

"They're very committed dancers and they work hard, and they're pretty humble too which is nice.”

During the 10 days of the festival, dance students who have been practising all year competed in solo, duo and group events in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, song and dance, and music theatre categories.

Matilda Kerr, 11, won the Junior Contemporary encouragement award; Katarina Parlato, 14, won the Senior Musical theatre Aggregate, Senior Jazz Encouragement Award, Senior Improvisation Aggregate, Over-13 years Jazz Champion, and Encouragement Bursary for all sections; and Daley Catip, 13, was awarded Most Outstanding Male Dancer of the Festival, the overall Adjudicators' Award, Most Promising Junior Performer in Jazz, Junior Jazz Aggregate and Under-13 Jazz Champion.

NATIONAL CHAMPION: Emerald Academy of Dance student  Daley Catip .
NATIONAL CHAMPION: Emerald Academy of Dance student Daley Catip . Contributed

Ms Davis said the dancers, who will compete at the Kids Artistic Revue regional titles in Mackay next month, were "definitely putting Emerald on the map”.

She said Daley and Matilda had also competed in Caloundra at the Get the Beat National Dance Championships on October5.

"Matilda received a platinum award for all her solos.

"Daley shone, coming first in the open section, crowning him National Champion, and he also received Runner-up Champion for Jazz and placed in the top five dancers nationwide.”

Daley's mother Aleisha Catip said dance was a career her son "absolutely” wanted to pursue.

"And it's fantastic to see his hard work come to fruition,” she said.

Ms Catip said Daley trained six days a week, completing between 15-20 hours of dance practice each week with the academy's dance teacher Alex Davis.

"It is a massive commitment but to him it's absolutely not a chore - it's his passion.”

"He just rose to the occasion and I've never seen him perform like that before.”


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