Young dancer takes out championship title

DANCING CHAMPION: Hailee Pearce, 15, won the Barrier Reef Highland Dancing Championship over the weekend. Picture: supplied.

Aidan Curtis

A YOUNG dancer from Mount Gambier is turning heads after winning a national highland dancing championship in Queensland.

Dancer Hailee Pearce, of the Margaret Cleves School of Dancing, took to the stage in the Barrier Reef Highland Dancing Championship in Townsville last weekend.

Ms Pearce was up against dancers from all around the nation, but managed to top her age group to win the 14-15 years championship title.

Margaret Cleves School of Dancing principal Margaret Reichelt said, while she was not able to go watch the competition, she was incredibly proud of her student.

“Every championship win is a thrill and you’re pleased [as a teacher] because so much work goes into all this, especially when you get to this standard,“ Ms Reichelt said.

“There’s hours of practice involved in getting to that standard.“

She said highland dancers have faced a lot of challenges in the last few years due to Covid, which meant extra work was needed to maintain a championship standard.

“We’ve had two years out really; competitive highland dancing almost came to a standstill,“ she said.

“Although they were still coming to lessons, a lot of it was done via Zoom, of course, but to get back up to the standard again after having two years off competitive dancing has been quite difficult.

“For highland dancing, you have to be very fit, and the more competitions you do, the better you get at it, the standard gets better each time.“

According to Ms Reichelt, it will be a busy couple of weeks coming up for her student.

Ms Pearce will soon sit for her Advanced Certificate in Highland Dancing, which will be followed by state championships in Adelaide on September 17.