Courageous on the dancefloor
Waikiki dancer Tiffany Williams recently returned home from the Showcase National Dance Championships on the Gold Coast with more titles than she can hold, continuing a stunning turnaround from a debilitating bone condition.
The 13-year-old Fremantle Christian College student stole the show as she retained her national title in ballet, as well as winning first place in the song and dance (musical theatre) category.
In addition to her first places, she also finished second in her vocal section, second in a duo with her younger sister Jamie and third in her Irish open section. Overall, the youngster achieved the sixth highest score in Australia for her age group.
Her success was made all the sweeter as it continued alongside her recovery from a long and often difficult battle with osteopenia, a medical condition in which the mineral and protein content in her bone tissue is reduced.
Having battled the condition for years, Tiffany has suffered multiple broken bones to maintain her status as one of the best young dancers in the country.
Her mother, Belinda, said the condition got so bad at one point she ended up in a wheelchair.
“There was nearly a whole year where she didn’t go to school and she was either in a wheelchair or in bed rest, she wasn’t allowed to weight bear at all,” Ms Williams said.
“She broke her feet over and over again, which obviously isn’t great for a dancer, as well as her hip and wrists.
“The dance school was really good because when she was allowed out of bed she would go in and do the classes in a wheelchair — we’d pick her up and put her on a Pilates ball.”
Ms Williams said finding a balance between exercise and injury prevention for Tiffany was a struggle.
“There’s a real fine line between needing a sport that has lots of impact, but physical impact — she can’t play football because a tackle could break her bones but she has to do something that keeps the muscles around the bones strong, otherwise they break,” she said.
Despite the arduous battle and at times questioning whether it was worth continuing, Tiffany said dancing had been an avenue that let her focus on the positives and brighter side of life.
Looking ahead later in the year, Tiffany aims to qualify for nationals again in October, where in 2019 she will aim for the highest score ever achieved at the nationals.