A talented east Auckland school student has won the main prize at a prestigious New Zealand dance convention.
Howick College pupil Brooke Scully, 17, has been dancing since she was four.
“I enjoy the way it makes me feel,” she says. “It’s an outlet.”
Four years ago Brooke was told she may never dance again due to a deliberating illness.
A flu shut down her digestive system and put her in hospital for a few months and she now has a chronic pain disorder.
“I wasn’t going to let that stop me,” Brooke told the Times.
On August 1 Brooke attended the Kairos Dance Convention, held at the Vodafone Events Centre, in Manukau, with approximately 1500 other dancers, and won the main prize.
“It was a very surreal feeling,” Brooke says.
Performances were judged over a weekend.
The organisation describes the event as “bringing together international tutors to host a high energy dance convention with maximum opportunities for all”.
Brooke’s prize consists of an 11-night trip to Los Angeles in the United States, to dance with top choreographers at top studios, the opportunity to dance at Disney and a three-day pass, a Rodeo Drive dance performance and more.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to work in LA,” Brooke says.
She also won acceptance with a 50 per cent scholarship into a dance school in Sydney, Australia.
This isn’t Brooke first incredible achievement.
A year ago, during the first Covid-19 lockdown, she made the most of it by getting involved with “online dance competitions and workshops and putting together her own choreography”, as Howick College wrote.
She caught the eye of Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, a professional dancer and winner of So You Think You Can Dance (Season 9).
He’s also the assistant creative director for the American Idol TV singing competition.
Chehon contacted Brooke and offered her a spot in his mentorship programme.
She worked with him and other choreographers via zoom.
“She’s learnt about choreography and received industry guidance,” Howick College wrote.
Brooke says she wants to pursue dance as a career path. “I want to dance in LA full-time.”
“I’ve had amazing support from my family,” she says, “and my dance teachers Sarah De Lille and Kim Stewart from Stewart Dance Studios.”