Coura­geous on the dance­floor

Southern Telegraph - - Sport - Ai­den Boy­ham

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.

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