PE girl dances to Hollywood

Matthew Comley

A PORT Elizabeth dancer is off to Hollywood later this year where she will represent South Africa at the performing arts world championships.

Chelsi-Kay Henry, 16, is an accomplished dancer with a number of gold medals to her name. She holds the title grand champion of dance, which covers all disciplines of dance, for her contemporary dance performance at the National Championships for Performing Arts a week ago.

She won a gold medal for her rap rendition of Nicki Minaj and Big Sean’s Dance.

Chelsi-Kay also won gold for her contemporary dance solo, jazz dance solo, rap vocal solo and hip-hop duet with best friend and dance partner Bianca Botha.

“Contemporary dance is a very difficult discipline to master. Most competitors have been practising for years, but Chelsi had just been doing it for two months [when she won at the South African championships],” Chelsi-Kay’s choreographer and coach Chireen Ferreira said.

Chelsi-Kay said winning the grand champion title was totally unexpected, and that it only registered with her a few days afterwards at school when her name was called out during assembly.

She said that she had begun to feel very discouraged after entering the South African championships, and that she had been told she did not have a chance of winning because of her inexperience in contemporary dance.

“I almost feel like I want to thank those people who discouraged me, because they made it even more meaningful when I won,” she added.

Chelsi-Kay said that she had been inspired to start contemporary dancing after watching the reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance?

“I’m always inspired by watching those shows and the idea that an ordinary person with talent can succeed and become famous,” Chelsi-Kay said.

Her mother, Mia Henry, said she danced “24/7”.

“Between homework, eating, or anything else, you’ll find her dancing,” she said..

Eastern Cape director for the South African championships Marcelle Sharp said they were very proud of Chelsi-Kay .

“We’re hoping she’s going to be offered sponsorship after being seen at the world champs.”

Chelsi-Kay said she was nervously excited about representing South Africa at the world championships, and regretted that her partner would not be able to join her.

“I’m going to go and make the best of it. I don’t want to be over confident or have a negative attitude,” she said.

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