FOR 13-year-old Grace Bright, it is her love of performing that drives her to dance.
The Year 7 student will compete in 14 dance sections over four days at the City of Orange Eisteddfod and has had to learn 10 different routines ahead of the competition.
As of Tuesday afternoon, she had received a highly commended award in the 13 years jazz solo section, and Grace’s mother Kylie Bright said the eisteddfod had attracted 1000 more entries than in previous years.
“It’s a tough competition. Half of her age group came from outside of the Orange region, from Canberra and Sydney,” Mrs Bright said.
“They’ve had to split the 13 and 14 years up, because there’s so many of them.”
Grace started dancing when she was three-years-old and performed her first solo at the eisteddfod at the age of four in the demi-character section, dressed as Mary from the nursery rhyme Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.
The James Sheahan Catholic High School student works hard to perfect her dancing, and takes about six hours of dance classes a week at Colour City Dance Works, on Thursday and Friday nights and during the day on Saturdays.
She takes classes including ballet, modern, contemporary and jazz, but her favourite is modern.
“I like the songs and the music. It’s a bit more interesting [than ballet], you can be freer and slower,” Grace said.
Alongside homework and dance classes, she is also rehearsing for Orange Theatre Company’s Seussical the Musical and said she would like to pursue dance after school.
“I help teach seven-year-olds. I’d like to be a dance teacher when I’m older,” Grace said.
Mrs Bright said her daughter fell in love with dancing from the first dance lesson she took, which was taught by Ellie Swiatkiwsky, the talented Orange dancer who is studying at The Juilliard School in New York.
“I’m not a dancer myself, it was all her idea from the beginning. I support her. It’s the confidence and self-esteem, the friends she’s made and the networking that make dancing so valuable,” Mrs Bright said.