PRETTY IN PINK: Winners of the eight years and under ballet at GBPAC were Dance Force ballerinas (from left) Natalie Gasparin, Bella Auliff, Jaimee Costanzo and Abbie Fisher.
PRETTY IN PINK: Winners of the eight years and under ballet at GBPAC were Dance Force ballerinas (from left) Natalie Gasparin, Bella Auliff, Jaimee Costanzo and Abbie Fisher. Lyn Irwin-Kelly

Emerging superstars show their stuff at GBPA challenge

BALLET not just about dancing but is a way of life, according to Queensland Ballet's Director of Training Christian Tatchev.

Mr Tatchev was a special guest of GBPAC on Friday and Saturday to mentor and judge the ballet competitions.

Growing up in Bulgaria, Mr Tatchev trained at the National School of Choreography in Sofia and began his professional dancing career at just 16. Dancing has taken him all over the world including a stint in South Africa.

He said ballet taught the necessary discipline and work ethic needed to be successful in any facet of life.

"You'll find dancers that leave professional ballet go on to have rewarding careers in anything they do because they've been taught to work hard and show discipline," he said.

Mr Tatchev said there was a great depth of talent in regional areas.

"Dancers in regional communities have just as much talent as dancers in the city," he said.

"Events like these are a chance to nurture these talents and provide the performers with the same opportunities to excel."

BALLET WORKSHOP: Queensland Ballet representative Christian Tatchev (right) with participants in a ballet masterclass at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre on Saturday morning during GBPAC.
BALLET WORKSHOP: Queensland Ballet representative Christian Tatchev (right) with participants in a ballet masterclass at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre on Saturday morning during GBPAC. Lyn Irwin-Kelly

Mr Tatchev judged the mentored young dancers on Friday afternoon and evening as they fought it out for prizes such as cash bursaries, scholarship entries and equipment and apparel.

Friends and competitors Sophia Sibley, 14, and Miriam Green, 15, devised a plan to ensure they both came out of the Granite Belt Performing Arts Challenge's musical theatre division as winners.

Although they were competing for outstanding prizes like $300 cash to go towards tuition fees and a summer scholarship to the Australian Dance Performance Institute (ADPI), the girls had their eyes on a particular prize.

STAR PERFORMERS: Miriam Green and Sophia Sibley finished first and second in GBPAC's senior musical theatre category. Photo: Alex Nolan / Stanthorpe Border Post
STAR PERFORMERS: Miriam Green and Sophia Sibley finished first and second in GBPAC's senior musical theatre category. Photo: Alex Nolan / Stanthorpe Border Post Alex Nolan

"We knew one of us would win and the other would be runner-up and we both really wanted to win the double, backstage passes to Strictly Ballroom," Sophia said.

"So, we made a decision that whoever won would take the other person."

Everything went according to plan for the Stanthorpe State High School and St Joseph's students, with Sophia taking out the title and Miriam finishing second.

"It wasn't about winning or losing, it was more like having an awesome experience with a close friend and having fun learning," Miriam said.

The girls were mentored by world-renowned choreographer Kylie Goeldner and performed dancing through life from the musical Wicked.

"She (Kylie Goeldner) taught us that musical theatre is about making your performance natural while still putting on a show," Sophia said.

The girls finished off their weekend by performing their number for a large crowd gathered for the gala performance on Saturday night.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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