From CQ studios to the Big Apple stage
TINY dancer Kenzie Andrews is about to take her talent from the studios of Central Queensland to the stages of New York City.
The nine-year-old Rockhampton dancer was announced last year as one of just two Australians from three States chosen from her division, to progress to the finals of the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP).
YAGP is the world's largest global network of dance. It fulfils its mission of dance education through scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, educational and outreach activities, performances, and films.
To help get the little girl to the Big Apple, her family has organised a fundraising event this weekend in Yeppoon, and is inviting the community along to an afternoon of live entertainment and dance.
Father Keith said what makes this even more amazing for Kenzie is not only the fact she's nine years old, but living in Central Queensland and having to drive eight hours each way for her to work with her classical coach Claudia Dean, made this dream an even bigger challenge.
"We hear so many comments of achieving these things not possible for rural kids unless they move to the city, so this is something special and inspiring for other country kids with ambition to make it in any industry of the performing arts," Keith said.
Attending the Beverley Prange Dance Centre in Rockhampton under the Guidance of Madonna Murphy, Kenzie has also spent the last two years working with Classical coach Claudia Dean in Brisbane, studying all styles of dance.
"Kenzie is the youngest Australian dancer to make it through to the Finals representing Australia," Keith said proudly.
The YAGP finals run from the April 7 - 14 and are streamed live around the world, which young Kenzie said she was extremely excited about.
"When I'm dancing I feel that it's easier for me to show how I'm feeling than using words. With Ballet I love how I actually use every single muscle in my body to tell a story, it's amazing," she said. "I first wanted to dance after watching my cousin dance at the Sydney Eisteddfod when I was little, going backstage was like a dream with all of the beautiful ballerinas in their tutus and I couldn't wait to do the same.
"Before I go on stage I like to put my headphones on and listen to my music while I stretch and I imagine my steps in my head.
"The thing that excites me the most and I'm most looking forward to when I compete at the Finals of the Youth America Grand Prix in NY is dancing on the world stage alongside some of my ballet idols. I look up to the kids who have been there before and are achieving great things as it reminds me that anything is possible.
"Winning the nine years classical ballet at the Sydney Eisteddfod meant so much to me, as I was competing against the best dancers from around Australia, and I had my family all there to support me.
"The Sydney Eisteddfod is such a big competition with so many kids who are all really talented. But I learnt that having the courage to step out in front of strangers and on a different stage away from home and give it all I've got is success."