HIGHLAND dance prodigy Hailee Pearce finished 2018 with a remarkable five championships, including four back-to-back wins in cities across the country.
Her most recent win was at the Victorian Championship held at Daylesford.
The 11 year old has danced since she was just five years old and now travels as far as Toowoomba and Cairns to compete.
Whirlwind trips with mum Lamorna have become part of Hailee’s weekly routine as she collects gold medals and shines in the national spotlight.
“I have been dancing for six years and I now compete at the highest level, which is premier,” Hailee told The Pennant.
“I started at MJ Dance studio learning jazz with Maria Slape – her mum teaches highland dancing and one of her dancers was in the concert.
“I just wanted to do the dance she was performing.”
Hailee now trains in three disciplines – jazz, ballet and highland dancing – and travels from Penola to Mount Gambier four days a week.
“I practice at home every day and we go to the Mount for classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,” she said.
“I have started personal training too to help build up my strength.”
This year alone Hailee and Lamorna have travelled to Sydney, Gosford, Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Canberra, Adelaide and Tasmania for highland dancing competitions.
“The only states I have not been to yet are Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” Hailee said.
“It is great to be able to travel all over the country, but sometimes we are not even in one place for 24 hours.”
After her five championship wins last year Hailee will now have her photograph mounted on the wall at Margaret Cleves School of Dancing.
“If you have five championship wins in a year your photograph goes up on the wall, it will be a picture of me wearing my sash,” she said.
“In the championship you perform four dances – the fling, sword dance, reel and Seann Triubhas.
“In three of my back-to-back championships I won gold medals for all four dances, which was exciting.
“Out of the championship dances, mum’s favourite is the fling, but I think my favourite is the Seann Triubhas.”
Hailee and Lamorna are planning a trip to Scotland in a few years time.
“We are planning to go to Scotland for a month when I’m 14 and we will travel around doing competitions every week,” Hailee said.