Danc­ing through the pain worth it for Lau­ren

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

When she tripped over play­ing a game the day be­fore her bal­let exam and badly sprained her toe, Lau­ren Mitchell thought she was done for.

‘‘My lit­tle toe [on her right foot] went all black and blue. I re­ally thought I’d bro­ken it,’’ she said.

‘‘I was limp­ing around all night and the morn­ing of the exam.

‘‘It was re­ally painful get­ting up on my toes, but I just had to do it.’’

The 13-year-old in­ter­me­di­ate bal­let dancer from Pau­ata­hanui did much bet­ter in front of the Bri­tish judge than she ever ex­pected, achiev­ing a 90 per cent mark and a spe­cial na­tion­wide ex­am­iner’s choice award.

‘‘It was re­ally nerve-rack­ing. Some­times the ex­am­in­ers never smile, but she did and that made me feel bet­ter. I was glad to get through it.’’

For Lau­ren’s teacher Bron­wen Tay­lor, it was a proud mo­ment to see one of her stu­dents achieve such a no­table award.

‘‘The ex­am­iner chooses one dancer, from in­ter­me­di­ate through to the ad­vanced lev­els, to re­ceive it,’’ Tay­lor said. ‘‘Lau­ren is ded­i­cated and puts in the work and it’s just a fan­tas­tic re­sult for her.’’

Tay­lor said the in­ter­me­di­ate level of bal­let could take 18 months to two years to com­plete, but Lau­ren man­aged it in 12 months. At the high­point of her train­ing, Lau­ren was putting in three hours a week of bal­let.

The exam, held late last year, was a rig­or­ous 90 min­utes for Lau­ren and her class­mates. They had to go through some set rou­tines and oth­ers ini­ti­ated by the ex­am­iner.

She needed 65 per cent to pass and eas­ily achieved that. She said she hoped to sit her se­nior and ad­vanced lev­els even­tu­ally, and was look­ing for­ward to the dance academy’s pro­duc­tion of Alice in Won­der­land at South­ward’s Car Mu­seum in May.

Lau­ren has at­tended bal­let classes since she was 4 and said the smaller classes at Springhill were en­joy­able.

She said danc­ing had been great for giv­ing her core strength and flex­i­bil­ity for other sports and ac­tiv­i­ties, like horserid­ing and net­ball.

Fel­low Springhill stu­dents Jes­sica Brit­tain (88 per cent) and Jake San­don (86 per cent) also fared well in the in­ter­me­di­ate ex­ams.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Lau­ren Mitchell re­ceived a na­tional award fol­low­ing her re­cent bal­let exam.

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