Izelle: telling a story through dance

2016-09-29 06:00
Izelle van der Westhuizen, a top student and Dance Dynamics in Jeffreys Bay. Photo: SUPPLIED

Izelle van der Westhuizen, a top student and Dance Dynamics in Jeffreys Bay. Photo: SUPPLIED

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AT some point in almost every little girl’s life, she dons those soft pink slippers and is taught the difference between an eleve and a releve.

However, becoming a successful ballerina takes more than a few classes every week. There is a huge part that comes from having talent, but without hard work and dedication, one will never make it.

Izelle van der Westhuizen (18), a senior ballet dancer at Dance Dynamics in Jeffreys Bay, knows this all too well. Her determination and love of ballet led her to winning nume-rous prestigious awards, including the Dance Dynamics Dancer of the Year for 2015, multiple gold awards at festivals and achieving Honours with Distinction (100%) in last year’s Intermediate Modern Examination.

Where did it all start?

After seeing Izelle waddling to the beat of music whenever the radio was on, her mother enrolled her for dance classes at Dance Dynamics at the very young age of three. Some 15 years later, she is still one of their top students.

Izelle, a grade 12 student at Nico Malan High School, started off with Classical RAD Ballet, and from age six she competed annually at the Port Elizabeth Dance Festivals and RAD Examinations.

Soon after joining the dance studio, she also took up modern dancing. She annually completed her international dance examinations in both dance forms and is currently in Advanced 1 Ballet and Advanced Modern Dan-cing.

“When I dance, I become another person. There are no thoughts in my head. It is the only time when I can completely switch off. I love hearing the music and moving to it - feeling the music, the dance and the story and thereby sharing the experience with others,” says Izelle.

According to her, the biggest challenge of being a professional dancer is overcoming your physical weaknesses by choosing to work hard. “As with all committed dancers, the long hours even when you do not feel like going to class, are yet another big challenge.”

Teaching her from the age 11, teacher Carrie White describes Izelle as “the only dancer I have ever taught that can completely capture a dance and draw you in. When she is on stage you can see and feel her soul. Very few people possess that skill. She is a beautiful person and someone I have been blessed to teach.”

This talented dancer will study Sport Science next year. “I wanted to become a professional dancer after school, but I am aware of the fact that to become a professional dancer requires a certain body type and technique, while I prefer the emotional side of dance rather than the technical impact,” says Izelle.

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