Teen sensations to light up stage in Hollywood

By Morgan Tait

Two local teen singing and dancing sensations will soon be hitting the bright lights of Hollywood - if they can fundraise enough money to get there.

Karamu High School dancing sensation Strickland Young, 15, and Taradale High School singer and model, Lydia Paxie, 16, were recently selected into an exclusive squad of teenage performers called the New Zealand Black Stars.

The pair were chosen to audition in the Aim to Fame national competition on March 11, where they competed against more than 50 others vying for spots in the squad. Now, they will compete against performers from 40 other countries at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, in July.

Lydia won two gold and two silver medals for singing and Strickland won four gold medals for dancing, and was also named Dancer of New Zealand.

Lydia said performing on the world stage could lead to performing arts scholarships and dream careers for the pair, but it came with a hefty $8000 price tag.

"We have some good fundraising ideas, but they will take a lot of planning and the first payments are due in just three weeks," she said.

"We are going to do lunchtime concerts and have approached some businesses already, but we just thought if people around Hawke's Bay see that we are doing well they might want to sponsor us; it's a lot of money."

Both the students have been performing most of their lives, and want to show other local teens that they too can follow their dreams.

"I live for dancing," said Strickland, who does tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary and lyrical disciplines and has been selected for national development workshops.

"I love it, I'm passionate about it and I put all the work in. I dance every day of the week, even Saturday and Sunday, I don't know where I would be without it."

Accolades International Marketing owner Dina Janse van Rensburg who runs the national side of the competition, said both youngsters had bright futures and any sponsors would be helping them get ahead.

"We are looking for the X-factor and both Lydia and Strickland have that, the opportunity is immense for these youngsters and has an immense value for their future," she said. "At the end of the day, what the contestants are going to get is to compete against 40 other countries on the world stage, they can network with people who have the same passion as they do from all over the world, there is even a boot camp to build their skills and confidence."

Lydia was also a lifelong performer, as part of the Australian Girls' Choir when she was younger, a frequent star of local productions and an entrant in the recent Miss Teen Hawke's Bay pageant.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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