Bianca Curtis twirls and jumps effortlessly across her living room floor.

One moment she is leaping across the carpet and the next she is in the splits.

The 11-year-old is practising for her first dance competition this weekend.

Bianca has autism and intellectual disability. She also loves to dance but she has never been able to enter competitions.


Her eyes sparkle as she admires her younger sister Tatianna's trophies, which fill two shelves in the living room.

For the first time, Bianca has the chance to compete for her very own trophy in the inaugural integrated dance section of Tauranga Dance Incorporated's competition on June 23.

"I think it is an amazing opportunity for her to dance in the competition," mum Suzy Brown said. "She watches her little sister and sees all the trophies coming home."

It will be the first time the sisters, who have danced at Dance Avenue for six years, will be able to perform in the same competition.

To prepare, 10-year-old Tatianna has helped to choreograph some of her older sister's first competition dance alongside teacher Amy Yorke.

"She will be great," Tatianna said. "I think it is pretty cool she gets to dance too."

Bianca will be performing a jazz dance to Me! by Taylor Swift and hopes to one day enter in the ballet section.

"Ballet is my favourite because it is beautiful," Bianca said.


Tauranga Dance Incorporated president Caroline Gill said the organisation organises three competitions a year for young dancers across the North Island to compete in modern and tap dance.

Gill said the new integrated dance section was introduced after announcing amputee, dancer, motivational speaker and choreographer Brylee Mills as the adjudicator for this weekend's competition.

"We wanted to help promote an inclusive dance community," she said.

The idea evolved after sharing a video to their Facebook page, which showed dancers with disabilities given the rare opportunity to perform at the Brisbane Eisteddfod performing arts competition in Australia.

"It is so everybody can be involved and to allow those dancers who wouldn't traditionally have the opportunity to compete to be part of our competition," Gill said.

The new integrated dance class is open to anyone who dances and lives with a disability.


Mills has donated a trophy to the class, which will be awarded each year, and the organisation is seeking sponsorship for further awards to be presented for their newest dancers.