Dancer ex­pands his com­fort zone


Late nights, hours of train­ing and a cute pair of bal­let tights are just a few of the ob­sta­cles Daniel La’aiva faced dur­ing his Cre­ation Fest ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Toko­roa-born dancer’s ded­i­ca­tion was recog­nised when he was awarded the Youth Ap­ti­tude Award at the clos­ing of the in­au­gu­ral five-day fes­ti­val held in Ro­torua.

As well as a gi­ant tro­phy, he took home $500 cash.

La’aiva was one of 11 dancers se­lected to par­tic­i­pate in live per­for­mances for Cre­ation Fest, and af­ter 11⁄ gru­elling months of

2 train­ing and shows, was awarded the top hon­our.

The 15-year-old hip-hop dancer said he had to step right out of his com­fort zone, danc­ing a jazz piece for the first time and chore­ograph­ing a one minute duet.

‘‘When we first got there every­one could walk on their hands with their feet be­hind their back and then there was me walk­ing on my two feet.’’

But it didn’t take long for the young star to step up come show time.

‘‘I had to wear bal­le­rina tights and a wig with that too so it was very very unco-or­di­nated.’’

The youth hub vol­un­teer said it was his fa­ther who in­spired him to dance.

‘‘I re­mem­ber out in the pool area he had card­board on the ground and I would just copy him, Dad was a pop­per.’’

La’aiva, who spe­cialises in iso­la­tions dance style, said the ul­ti­mate dream would be to be­come a mem­ber of one of New Zealand’s top dance crews, Iden­tity.

New Zealand cur­rently holds the world hip- hop ti­tle and La’aiva said de­spite its size, the small coun­try pro­vides good op­por­tu­ni­ties for as­pir­ing pro­fes­sional dancers.

Daniel La’aiva wins recog­ni­tion for do­ing the thing he loves most in life – danc­ing.

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