From country town to the US, Kenzie proves best in Aus
ROCKHAMPTON'S young prima ballerina has leapt towards the biggest achievement in her young career.
Kenzie Andrew's passion for dance has earned her a rightful place on the global stage to compete in the world's largest ballet competition, the Youth American Gran Prix (YAGP) held in New York.
Her latest achievement comes as the curtains close on the nine-year-old's stellar 2016.
Kenzie is one of two Australians selected for the YAGP, and will compete against dancers three years her senior in the under-12s division.
Only 19 dancers were selected from 11 countries to compete.
But the humble Year 4 student isn't in it for the glory, she does it for the love.
"Dancing is just a really exciting and fun experience, to be up on stage and see everyone out in the crowd," she said.
But how does she manage school work, dance commitments and just being a nine-year-old girl? Simple.
"I usually just do all my homework, then I go up to the shed and dance," Kenzie said.
Her doting mother, Tracey, is near lost for words over her daughter's talent, but said Kenzie's success feels like a family event.
"The finals are in New York, so for our little nine year old this is something special, and for us as a family, very proud," she said.
Held in April next year, the trip will follow Kenzie's first venture the the United States after she took out the Petite National Champion against 1800 soloists at the Get The Beat competition earlier this year.
"What people don't understand it takes more than just that one competition or audition, it's most afternoons, it's her love of being on the stage, it's her drive, she's very independent and they have to want to dance and she wants it and she's achieving it," she said of the latest win.
Beverley Prange Dance Centre principal Madonna Murphy said Kenzie joins a long list of success stories to come from the studio her mother first opened in 1958.
Now, with her daughter also at the helm, Ms Murphy said she had an incredible sense of fulfilment to see her students succeed.
"We have had a lot of highlights during 2016, we have had the Queensland ballet come, we have had two adopt-a-dancers on our doorstep this year which has just been amazing, we have had so many successes with esteidfods and this has just topped it off with Kenzie and the YAGP," she said.
"From country town and at nine, that's just been incredible.
"But there's been a lot of success over the years; I've been teaching for 40 years so we have had a lot of students go on to the WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts), the Australian Ballet School, full-time dance studies, the Moulin Rouge in Paris, so the list goes on.
"They have to love it they have to want it, and Kenzie has got that love and has got that passion and has got that dedication, she's got all the requirements, but for such a young age it has to be nurtured," she said.
"I am looking forward to nurturing her through those years."