Bay ballerinas Eva Jeffries and Amelia Tapsell are living their dream.

The 9-year-olds are performing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in its rendition of Jane Campion's The Piano, which showcases in Auckland tonight.

They made the cut after auditioning in Wellington and were up against 130 other young hopefuls vying for 10 spots in the Auckland show and other centres around New Zealand.
The talented youngsters are friends and train at Dance Avenue in Greerton.

Eva said she was excited and it was a real privilege.


Her older sister Alice had danced with the Royal New Zealand Ballet so she felt proud to carry on the tradition.

Amelia admitted she was feeling a "little bit nervous" but would take it in her stride.

"I'm really looking forward to dancing on the big stage."

The duo want to be professional ballerinas in the future and said when they found out they would be in The Piano there was a lot of screaming and shouting.

Ballet teacher Lisa Wilson said it was an amazing feat for the girls.

"It's so exciting and a real coup because they have worked so hard in class."

She put forward their names to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and encouraged them to audition.

The experience would be invaluable and a massive opportunity, Lisa said.

"They will get an awful lot out of it and to make the Auckland show is huge."

Children as young as 2 or 4 can start ballet and Lisa said it was a popular form of dance.

"I think people are going back to the discipline of ballet. Our classes are pretty big with 10 to 15 kids in most classes."

There was also a lot to be gained apart from the physical side, she said.

"You have got posture and learning how to stand in line and wait your turn.

"But there are other things like learning to be confident and old-fashioned values like respect.

"They have to be quiet and do what they are told and practice. That is the hardest thing — to go home and practice."

Ballet had not changed for hundreds of years, Lisa said.

"It won't ever change and it's really good for these kids to learn about the classics and discipline.

"Plus they get to wear tutus and tiaras, and who wouldn't like that?"

Amelia Tapsell, 9, and Eva Jeffries, 9. Photo/George Novak
Amelia Tapsell, 9, and Eva Jeffries, 9. Photo/George Novak