Whanganui ballet students Mira Meijer and Billie Dufty will depart for Wellington next year to take their craft to the next level.
Meijer, 15, has been accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance as a Classical Ballet Major, while Dufty, 14, will begin at the Chilton Dance Centre (part of Chilton Saint James School) on a scholarship.
Both have been under the tutelage of Anna Chandulal at Whanganui Ballet and Dance Academy.
Meijer, an Advanced 2 student, said she has been with Chandulal for all nine years of her ballet schooling.
"My mum enrolled me when I was little because I was always dancing just for fun," Meijer said.
"She thought it would be good to channel my energy into something that I could do when I was older as well.
"I've loved it ever since."
Studying ballet required a large amount of commitment, Meijer said.
Next year's fulltime course means four to five hours of dance work every day.
"You really have to want it, go to every class, and try your hardest every time.
"It can't just be 'my mum makes me do it'."
Meijer will be at the New Zealand School of Dance for at least two years, starting from February next year.
"After that I'm hoping to begin auditions for companies, and get a proper job."
Dufty said she hoped to follow the same career path as Meijer.
She began dance classes in China.
"The first classes I attended were actually really bad," Dufty said.
"You would get pushed down into the splits and stuff, and you'd think I would have lost interest because of that, because it was extremely painful."
When she and her family moved to the River City, Dufty said she picked out the Whanganui Ballet and Dance Academy straight away.
"This was the first studio I looked at, and I knew it was where I wanted to be."
Chandulal said she would be sad to see the pair go, but their success meant she had been doing her job.
"They've been here for a long time, and have been involved in classes and shows.
"The younger students look up to older students as well, so it always creates a bit of a gap when they leave."
It was important for emerging ballet dancers to take classes every day, and the move to Wellington would allow the pair to do that, Chandulal said.
"When students reached the age of 16, they needed to make a decision about whether to enter fulltime training or not.
"You need to keep up with the competition throughout the world.
"Trying to fit all that in with a full school schedule can be really hard, and really exhausting."
A school like Chilton worked those classes into its curriculum time, Chandulal said.
"It's also important for them to be dancing with people who are at their level.
"I'm really glad proud of the fact that these girls come from a small provincial town and they don't get that sense of competition you would find in Auckland or Wellington, where there are so many [dance] schools and students.
"They've had to be really determined and self-motivated, and often they do their work by themselves to get to that next level."