Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Fundraiser for dance high-flyer

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Pillans Point School is hosting a monster garage sale this Sunday, to raise funds to help one of their students compete in a transtasman dance competition.

Austin Taylor was selected through the Get the Beat dance competition in Auckland to compete with other dancers from across New Zealand and Australia at the Get the Beat Finals held on the Sunshine Coast, later this year.

Austin also took out the Tauranga Tap Dancing Competition, winning the title of junior jazz champion. He had the highest aggregated points in his age group, the most outstanding jazz item and won a dance-off to be crowned junior champion of champions.

From a really young age, he was bopping.
Alisha Taylor, Austin's mother

Fellow Dance Avenue's students Aliyah L'emon, Ajah Cameron and Georgia Pendered have also qualified for the Australian competition.

Austin's mother Alisha Taylor said her son had scored higher than 90 per cent for his hip-hop routine which qualified him to compete in Australia.

But the win was something they had not considered. Austin does not even have a passport.

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Flights and accommodation for the pair to travel would cost about $2000.

But, Austin who is in his final year at Pillans Point School, has his school's backing.

This Sunday they would hold a monster garage sale to help raise funds for him to compete.

Mrs Taylor said once Austin's teacher Cathy Aldridge found out about his achievement she and his classmates were so excited for him they got together and started organising the fundraiser.

Mrs Taylor said her son had been dancing since he was little.

"From a really young age, he was bopping. He had natural timing and rhythm right from the get go. Everybody would say to me you need to try him in a dance class."

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Mrs Taylor said she put the idea forward to Austin when he was about six.

"And there was no stopping him, he started off with just hip-hop. Then it just exploded and he wanted to sink his teeth into every other style of dance he could try."

Austin Taylor has been dancing since he was a little boy, and will hopefully compete at the Get the Beat competition in Australia in September. Photo / John Borren
Austin Taylor has been dancing since he was a little boy, and will hopefully compete at the Get the Beat competition in Australia in September. Photo / John Borren

Austin, who celebrated his 11th birthday yesterday, now spends three days a week in the Dance Avenue's studio dancing hip hop, jazz, contemporary, lyrical and musical theatre. A boy of polarising talents, he also plays rugby.

"He pours everything into this and has worked so hard, so we are really chuffed for him. We want to encourage the talent because there are not a lot of male dancers out there. We try and encourage him as much as we can. But he does have the passion and drive himself.

"It's certainly not a cheap thing to do with your child, but when your child has a natural talent for it you've got to do what you've got to do," she said.

Mrs Taylor said her son loved watching hip-hop but had recently said jazz was his favourite style to dance.

Get the Beat will be held at the in Caloundra, the Sunshine Coast, from September 18 to 21.


* Pillans Point School is holding a monster garage sale this Sunday, from 8am to 12pm on the school courts.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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