Olivia Moore had only been eligible to compete for the Legacy Trust Major Ballet Award a few days - but that didn't stop her winning it.

She had turned 15 - the minimum age to be considered - just four days before the competition which was part of the recent Tauranga Performing Arts competitions.

Despite her age, her performances of two variations and a master class impressed the adjudicator enough for her to be named scholarship winner.

Ballet dancer Olivia will use the $1000 she was awarded to further her training.


"'It was pretty exciting for me because I'll be able to put the money towards training," she says. "I'm used to big competitions in Auckland, but I was still slightly nervous."

At the competitions, she was also awarded the most promising and most outstanding classical dancer awards and three highest points trophies.

It was a whistle stop return to Tauranga for Olivia, who had been in Wellington the week prior to the competitions dancing full time at the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) winter school. At the winter school she was awarded the Eva Evdokimova Award for Artistry.

Straight after the competitions it was back to Wellington where she spent a week of intensive training at the Royal Academy of Dance.

"It was chance to train with the full time dancers of the RAD," says mum Kat. Although still only 15, it is Olivia's ambition to study at the NZSD next year, a year earlier than students are normally accepted, with her ultimate goal being accepted by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

"She is on the young side. They say you have to be 16 with NCEA Level 1, but they will take them earlier," says Kat. It's why she is doing correspondence, so she can take her Level 1 early and be in a position to audition."

Olivia knows it could be difficult moving to Wellington and being away from family. "I know it's something I have to do, but I think it will be hard to start with," she says.

On a closer horizon Olivia, along with other dancers from Tauranga's Dance Education Centre, Jake Gisby, who was third in the scholarship competition, and Emma McDonnell are preparing for the national Performing Arts Competitions Association of New Zealand's national competitions in October.

Last year, Olivia and her two younger sisters Arabella and Loulou Moore headed to Brussels to dance in the Petipa International Ballet Competition, after being approached by Parisian ballet master Jacques Marsa.