St Margaret’s dancer makes national company

JIG: St Margaret's student Annabel Watts made the New Zealand dance company for Highland dancing. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

A St Margaret’s College student who has been highland dancing since she was three has been selected as part of the national academy.

Annabel Watts, 16, danced her way into a spot as one of the youngest members of the New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing.

“There are a few younger people but there are a lot around 30,” she said.

The auditions took place in the city at the beginning of April, which Annabel said was perfect having them “at home.”

Annabel will join the company for its 2017 and 2018 season.

“I could’ve done it last year but I decided school was more important,” she said.

Beginning with workshops and conferences around the country, Annabel will also perform at the Virginia Tattoo arts festival.

Now she has to focus on practising, which she does at least three times a week.

Her love for highland dance started more than 13 years ago.

“When I was three I liked the bagpipes so mum sent me down the road to join dance classes,” she said.

And she has never looked back.

Although she did say it was a bit unusual to love the bagpipes any time let alone at such a young age.

Annabel also recently passed the advanced highland exam, which is the highest a dancer can achieve, and is qualified to teach.

The national academy will have its first session after the New Zealand Highland and National Dancing Championships in July.