Cambridge dancers make national stage

Isla Newlands and Gabi Hill pictured outside the St James Theatre, where they auditioned.

Two young Cambridge dancers have made it onto a national stage, being cast in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s upcoming Auckland show, The Piano: the ballet.

Gabi Hill and Isla Newlands, two friends who attend K.S. School of Dance in Cambridge, were encouraged by their dance teacher Kellie Schroer to try-out for the NZ Ballet show and flew to Wellington last week for auditions.

They were just two of over 135 girls from all over New Zealand aiming for the role of Flora, a young character in the show. Though they didn’t make it into the main cast, the two girls were both selected to appear as extras in Auckland performances of the show.

“It was really cool,” Gabi said of the audition. “The next day Mum got a message and gasped, I thought something bad had happened but she told me we’d been asked to be in the play, and after a few seconds I was like ahhh!

“At first when I told my dad he thought I was joking,” she laughed. “I’m really excited, it will be a cool experience, and I’m really glad that Isla’s going to be there as well, we won’t be alone, we’ll have each other.”

Isla was not available this week for comment, but her mother Hannah Newlands said she and husband Craig were immensely proud. “As parents we were just in awe that she had given this a go with 135 other dancers from around New Zealand… She has set herself goals and is now fulfilling them,” she said. “Isla and Gabi went into the audition laughing and came out with big smiles and still giggling.”

The two girls will appear on stage alongside the Royal NZ Ballet performers at two of the Auckland shows in early March.

“Sometimes I’ll suddenly be like, oh I’m in the show, this is amazing, and then I’ll eventually calm down, and then later I’ll remember, and it’s kind of just a cycle of that,” Gabi laughed. “Thank you to Miss Kellie for giving Isla and I the opportunity to audition, we really appreciate it.”

The girls, both 11 years old, have been dancing at Schroer’s K.S. School of Dance since they were around 5 or 6 years old. “What a wonderful outcome,” said Kellie. “If they hadn’t gone they wouldn’t have known what they could achieve. I’m tremendously thrilled and immensely proud of them. It’s certainly boosted their confidence and we’ll surely see a lot more from these girls in the future.”

The girls also recently completed their ballet exams with distinction – the highest mark they could achieve.

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