Botany Downs Secondary College student Jessica Wang has been declared an overall winner of the Showcase Dance Competition national finals and is particularly proud of the fact that she is the only tap dancer to win the top prize.
“In 25 years, I am the only one to win Dancer of the Year in Tap dancing,” beams the 12-year-old as she talks of the stiff competition at the Nationals held in Christchurch.
“There were some very good dancers from a studio in Sydney as well. The competition is so hard to judge since there are such different styles and dance techniques. Showcase is the biggest competition in Australia/NZ and this year it is celebrating its 25th year,” she says.
Jessica is thrilled to have qualified for the World Dance Movement, an international dance championship to be held in Rome, Italy in June.
She believes she won because she was in character all the time, “a hardcore rock-star in a leather jacket. Also the three-speed tap dance was very well choreographed by Brandon Carter-Chan.”
Having started dancing at the age of three and professionally trained at five, Jessica says that dancing allows her to express her emotions.
“When I am sad, I can express it in lyrical and contemporary dance. When I feel sassy, I can do the jazz routine. And if I am angry, tap dancing is a good way to let out my pent-up emotions,” says Jessica, who dances three to four hours a day.
“It can stretch to six hours a day during competition time. My day usually starts at 4pm after school and it’s quite manic. Most times I have dinner in the car at around 3.30pm and then start with my stretches. Sometimes I’m at the Carter-Chan Dance Performance Studio till 8.30-9pm and at times till 10pm.”
“My teacher and dance choreographer Brandon Carter-Chan and also the director Brigid Carter-Chan have helped me and supported me a lot. I couldn’t have done it without them,” she says.
Jessica has also won the Follow Your Dream National Championship in Melbourne and was the first tapper to win the Champion of Championships.
She also has also won the NZ Dance Award–Intermediate Tap Scholarship for 12-14 years.
Now she can’t wait to put on her dancing shoes and show off her artistic talent in Italy.