Budding ballerinas have opportunity to mix with the best

Ballerinas in waiting (from left) Mia Waite (12), of Wanaka, Isabel Martin (11), of Wanaka, Mia...
Ballerinas in waiting (from left) Mia Waite (12), of Wanaka, Isabel Martin (11), of Wanaka, Mia Cohen (13), of Wanaka, Chelsea King (12), of Dunedin, Annabel Harridge (10), of Wanaka, and Bronte Beker (10), of Dunedin, watch the Royal New Zealand Ballet dancers at work during rehearsals at Burns Hall yesterday. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Katie Waite has travelled the road between Wanaka and Dunedin so many times lately, she is starting to feel like her car is on autopilot.

The Wanaka mother and nine other parents have made the three-and-a-half-hour trek five or six times over the past month so their ballet dancing children can rehearse for tonight’s performance of Sleeping Beauty with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

"I think it’s a pretty well-worn road now."

It was a tiring and windy road, but asked if it was worth it, she said, "100%, definitely".

Her daughter, Mia, was passionate about ballet.

"The kids have really enjoyed rehearsing together, and today is a highlight because they get to dance with the professional dancers in the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

"Sleeping Beauty is a massive ballet. They usually bring in a lot of international dancers, but they can’t come in because of Covid.

"So they’ve actually brought in a lot from the New Zealand School of Dance to fill some of the roles.

"The kids are actually seeing the whole pathway from novice to expert ballerinas. So they are getting more from this than they possibly could from our little region."

Like the other parents involved, she said she was delighted to run Mia around the countryside, just to see the smile on her face at rehearsals.

But there was also a definite bonus for the parents.

"When the kids are rehearsing, it means we can have a little parent time," she said.

Translation: While the children are rehearsing, the parents can check out some of the popular shopping spots in Dunedin.

Mia is one of the more than 20 young ballet dancers from around Otago selected to perform with the Royal New Zealand Ballet at the Regent Theatre tonight and tomorrow.


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