Broadway beckons for young ballet star

A young boy with a talent for ballet is heading for the bright lights of Broadway.

James Dight, 10, from Blenheim has been chosen to join the Kiwi Allstars team.

He will travel to New York for a week of workshops and rehearsals with Broadway stars before heading to Disneyland for some hints and tips from their entertainers.

For the dance-mad youngster the chance is a dream come true.

“I’d like to keep doing ballet when I’m bigger as I really enjoy the stretches. I also like the pirouettes, they used to make me a bit dizzy, but not anymore

“I was really surprised to be chosen and can’t wait to do the actual performances,” he says.

The Dance on Grove student and Blenheim Musical Theatre (BMT) member has performing in his blood.

He is the fourth generation of his family to join the performing institution.

Mum Alison Dight says James enjoyed dancing from when he was just two years old.

“I was a member of BMT, so were his grandparents and great-grandparents so I wasn’t terribly surprised; it’s a bit of a generational thing.

“I have a video of James walking down a street when he was two, past restaurants and starting to dance to the music. He got his groove on,” she says.

James faced an anxious wait after submitting his video audition to join the group of 30 picked to perform at the Music Theatre International (MTI) Junior Festival in January 2021.

Technically too young to audition, he was just shy of his tenth birthday when he sent his tape off.

“You had to be ten, but he was a month off his birthday, and they said to send it [the tape] in anyway.

“I got an email telling us he had been successful, but he was just heading to ballet class, so I didn’t tell him straight away.

“We wanted to make a big thing about it, so I rushed home and printed out photos of New York and we told him when he came home.

“It was just amazing,” Alison says.

The group will spend a week in New York putting together a short sample of a show.

They will then travel to Atlanta to join 7000 other young people for the MTI Junior Festival and perform their show before adjudicators and receive feedback.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” says Alison who will travel with him as he’s under 16-years old.

The family have been fundraising hard to try and raise $8,000 towards the trip.

“Even if people just donate the price of a cup of coffee, it could make all the difference,” Alison says.

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