Tahlia gets seal of approval for ballet skills

Tahlia Downey, 16, will perform in the Magic Toyshop in January. The ballerina was one of two Queenslanders recently awarded the solo seal award for completing the examinations for the Royal Academy of Dancing at a distinction or higher.
Tahlia Downey, 16, will perform in the Magic Toyshop in January. The ballerina was one of two Queenslanders recently awarded the solo seal award for completing the examinations for the Royal Academy of Dancing at a distinction or higher. Mike Richards

TUTUS and pirouettes are a big part of Tahlia Downey's life.

The 16-year-old ballet dancer is one of two Queenslanders who has achieved a solo seal award for this year.

The prestigious award is given to high-achieving dancers who have completed all examinations for the Royal Academy of Dancing at a level of distinction or higher.

Tahlia performed in front of a panel of professional dancers and an audience to achieve the result.

"I was stunned. I actually wasn't doing it to get awarded," she said.

"It was more for the experience and the opportunity to go and do that was amazing for me.

"Finding out I was awarded the solo seal was the icing on top of the cake."

Some weeks she spent 26 hours practising.

She started dancing seven years ago, and enjoys jazz and contemporary styles.

But being a professional ballerina has always been her dream.

"I saw my cousin dance and I would watch her perform and I knew that's what I wanted to do," the Toolooa State High School student said.

Next year Tahlia will move to Brisbane to complete a year with Annette Roselli Dance Academy, while completing Year 12 by correspondence.

Tahlia has learnt her technique from Gladstone dance teacher Wendy Barker.

"Tahlia sparkles on stage, and not everybody has that. You can have great technicians but they may not project on stage," Ms Barker said.

Tahlia's most recent project is with the Gladstone Youth Dance Association's production of the Magic Toyshop.

Her role as a Can Can doll was choreographed by Australian Ballet principal artist Daniel Gaudiello.

She will meet Mr Gaudiello to learn the role.

The production will be performed at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre in January.

Topics:  ballet dancer gladstone entertainment junior arts

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