Aerobics duo picked for world event

Queen's High School aerobics dancers (from left) Mickey Sumner (15), Malia Corson (14), Saige...
Queen's High School aerobics dancers (from left) Mickey Sumner (15), Malia Corson (14), Saige Evans (14), Kate Williment (17), Abby Newell (14), Billie Allan (16) and Annabel Ludgate (14). PHOTOS: JESSICA WILSON
A Dunedin dance duo have been chosen for a world aerobics competition after dancing together for less than a year.

After winning the open team category at the New Zealand Competitive Aerobics Federation (NZCAF) schools aerobics nationals, Queen’s High School pupils Billie Allan and Saige Evans were selected to enter an online world aerobics competition.

The national event was held online for the first time, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Otago dancers’ routines were filmed at Otago Girls’ High School in front of limited crowds before they were uploaded and judged.

Saige said having fewer people in the audience took the pressure off a bit.

Billie said it also affected some dancers’ preparation.

"Usually some people get hyped up by the crowd cheering and we didn’t have really large crowds this time, so we just had to hype each other up as clubs and as athletes," she said.

And it worked.

The video of their performance not only won them a national title, it was also chosen to enter an online Federation International Sports Aerobics and Fitness (FISAF) competition.

"It was such crazy news to get because we didn’t expect it at all," Billie said.

They would find out the results on December 12.

Queen's High School hip-hop dancers (back from left) Georgia Divers (15), Georgina Clark (17),...
Queen's High School hip-hop dancers (back from left) Georgia Divers (15), Georgina Clark (17), Tiara Nafatali (17), Emma-Rose Hollander (18), Martha McAuley (16), (middle, holding cup) Jasmin Mihaka-George (16), (front from left) Izzy Brown (14), Gracie Ruri (14), Aleece Hosking (15) and Sarah Donaldson (15). Absent: Nika Macut (15).
They also won an artistic excellence trophy and achieved highly in their individual performances.

Billie won the senior open novice individual category and Saige was second in the junior open individual.

They were just two of the seven Queen’s High School pupils who competed.

Abby Newell, Mickey Sumner and Annabel Ludgate won the novice team category.

Abby also won novice individual, which Mickey was third in, and Malia Corson won the open novice individual category.

Queen’s Aerobics Club choreographers Annelise Lowther and Kirsty Snoep were awarded a trophy for innovative choreography.

These accolades helped the school win the shield for the highest scoring school, which is based on the number of first, second and third places.

Fellow school pupils also performed well at the NZCAF hip-hop national championships.

The event was held in Christchurch on November 20, after being postponed from September.

Two of the school’s three crews which competed at the Otago regionals qualified for the national event and both won their categories.

Audacity, made up of nine dancers, came first in the same school small crew (5-9 dancers) grade, while Insync — Izzy Brown and Gracie Ruri — won the same school mini crew (2-4 dancers) grade.

Audacity was coached by Tiara Nafatali, Lucy Grant and Martha McAuley.

They were surprised and overwhelmed by the crew’s win, especially as they were up against some tough competition, Tiara said.

Martha said securing the national title made all the time spent training and difficulty with the postponement worth it.

They had a feeling Covid-19 restrictions would likely affect the event.

"It was just really hard keeping motivated for that long but I feel like it worked out anyway," she said.

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