City teenager per­fects his dance skills in Switzer­land

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TYLER ROODT

CITY teenager Joshua Wil­liams is danc­ing up a storm in Switzer­land af­ter years of hav­ing his skills honed by lo­cal dance teach­ers.

His mother, Candice Jooste, said it all be­gan be­fore Joshua (now 14) was a year old.

“By 10 months old, he re­fused to crawl but started walk­ing and prac­ti­cally run­ning. He showed a love and pas­sion for mu­sic, and was for­ever danc­ing, do­ing splits,” she said.

When Joshua was 5 years old, his mother went to fetch him from preschool and found him hang­ing on the gym bars.

“His teacher told me that the par­ents were ask­ing ‘whose child is this, that his par­ents are teach­ing him to do splits and som­er­saults?’”

By Grade 1, Joshua was help­ing his teach­ers with the chore­og­ra­phy for the end-ofyear con­cert.

One day Joshua, then aged 8, was danc­ing around while his par­ents were at the post of­fice in Bay­side Cen­tre when he was spot­ted by Elka­nah House drama teacher Julie Dick­son, who ad­vised his par­ents to con­tact Tam­sin Wil­liams, a dance teacher at the school.

Joshua re­ceived a schol­ar­ship to join Elka­nah House, where he did mod­ern dance and hip hop classes.

Three months later he went home with the first prize at a danc­ing com­pe­ti­tion at Grand West. The fol­low­ing year, Joshua en­tered the Na­tional Eisteddfod Academy’s an­nual eisteddfod com­pe­ti­tion in Sea Point and won in all the cat­e­gories he en­tered.

Want­ing Joshua to pol­ish his skills, Wil­liams re­ferred him to study un­der Karen Jooste of the West Coast Dance Academy . Nine months into bal­let train­ing he en­tered the bal­let eisteddfod and won in the solo and duo per­for­mance cat­e­gories.

In early Jan­uary last year, when every­one else was still on school hol­i­days, Joshua was hard at work prac­tis­ing for the South African In­ter­na­tional Bal­let Com­pe­ti­tion.

Joshua did not win in ei­ther the clas­si­cal or con­tem­po­rary cat­e­gories but he was re­warded for his ef­forts with a one-week schol­ar­ship to the Zurich Dance Academy in Switzer­land by Oliver Matz, the di­rec­tor of dance stud­ies at the academy and one of the judges at the event.

His flight to Zurich was spon­sored by Pro­fes­sor Ge­ungSoo Kim, vice pres­i­dent of the Korean Dance As­so­ci­a­tion. The day be­fore Joshua was due to fly back home, Matz said there was an open spot at the academy and in­vited him to re­turn.

Joshua agreed with­out a sec­ond thought, but needed the con­sent of his par­ents. They man­aged to raise the funds and put young him on a plane in Septem­ber.

PIC­TURE: PAT BROMILOW-DOWN­ING

Joshua Wil­liams pleases the crowd.

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