Dedication to ballet excellence pays off for Tilly

Tilly Cleyne, 16, from The Peregian Dance Centre had wins at both the Toowoomba and Kingaroy eisteddfods.

By Hollie Harris

Tilly Cleyne dedicates some 30 hours a week to achieving her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer – and is beginning to reap the rewards of her hard work.

After four years of training, the 16-year-old senior student from The Dance Centre Peregian Springs (TDCPS) recently won a string of awards.

Tilly achieved three firsts and two seconds in hotly-contested solo competitions at two eisteddfods.

The talented dancer took out first place in the Classical and Demi-character divisions, which also won her the Senior Classical Championship trophy at the Kingaroy Eisteddfod.

She also won the Lyrical division at the Toowoomba Eisteddfod with her strong, beautiful style and her own choreography.

She came a close second in the Classical division to TDCPS star Alfie Shacklock (recently home from competing in New York), and also placed second in the Contemporary division.

Tilly said a lot of hard work was behind her successful performances.

“Eisteddfods give me stage performance practice. I learn how to deal with nerves and there are always lots of funny moments to share with my dance friends,” she said.

“When performing on stage, my main goal is to impress Miss D. (Miss Deborah Preece-Brocksom, Director of TDCPS), because she is such a big inspiration to me.

“I have been dancing at TDCPS for four years and I am a vocational student. I devote 25-30 hours a week to dancing, studying Vaganova and many other styles to achieve my dream of being a professional dancer with a major ballet company.”

For the past two years, Tilly has been home-schooled through the Brisbane School of Distance Education.

It’s a full-on schedule but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It is very busy at the moment trying to juggle year 11 school work (plus a year 12 subject) with full-time vocational dancing, but I love it.”