Local pair to dance in Italy

2015-05-05 06:00
Gabrielle Arendse and Harun Maart want to dance for South Africa.

Jared baboo

Gabrielle Arendse and Harun Maart want to dance for South Africa. PHOTO: Jared baboo

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A young ballroom dancing pair from Athlone who was selected to represent South Africa, will hopefully be gracing the dance floor at the Youth Ballroom World Championships in Italy in July.

Gabrielle Arendse (14) and Harun Maart (15), from Bridgetown and Silvertown respectively, will compete against other dancers from more than 60 countries.

According to Mavis Jacobs, dance instructor at the Afton School of Dance in Wynberg who coaches the young couple, they will be dancing five different ballroom dances – each with its “own fundamental characteristics”.

The pair, who grew up together and have been dancing together for the past nine years, normally practices three times a week, but have now increased their practice time in preparation for the youth championships.

“They have a warm partnership, great attitude and approach to ballroom dancing and they support and respect each other. They will do great,” says Jacobs.

She says the partners need to prepare mentally to believe in themselves.

Nutrition, exercise and fitness are important for dancers as it gives them endurance during the multiple rounds they have to dance.

However, the couple still needs R15 000 each to cover expenses for the overseas trip.

“They will be going for five days and need to cover expenses such as their flights and accommodation for two days,” says Jacobs.

Sally Williams, Harun’s mother, says she is confident they will raise the needed money in time. “They (Gabrielle and Harun) gel well together so perfectly. It’s amazing how well they connect as dance partners. We are extremely proud and know they will do well, because they are excelling in ballroom,” she says.

Williams says the kids’ passports are ready for collection and they can now apply for their visas.

Various fundraising events are planned, including a karaoke, hat party and car rally.

“We would like the community to support this young, talented couple to help make their dream come true,” says Jacobs.

Elzine, Gabrielle’s mother, says she is very excited and proud of the young dance couple.

“I am most probably their biggest fan. I am extremely proud of what they have achieved thus far and what they will achieve in future. Ballroom dancing is such a beautiful sport.”

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