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By Taryn Utiger
The South Taranaki Star
Febuary 4, 2013

Reuben Chan, 8, at the Taranaki Fancy Dancing Association Easter Competitions (Photo by Jonathan Cameron) 2013[Taranaki, New Zealand] – Tutus and tap shoes took to the Theatre Royal stage in New Plymouth this weekend [February 2], but it wasn’t just girls who were vying for awards at the dancing competitions. Budding ballet dancer Reuben Chan was the only boy entered in the glitter-filled Taranaki Fancy Dancing Association Easter competitions.

The 8-year-old, who had been dancing since he was 4, was enjoying the weekend and was not worried by the 130 girls in the competition. “Dancing is fun, sometimes you can get nervous, but if you do you just don’t think about the people who are there,” he said.

Reuben, who goes to Moturoa Primary, performed four dances over the three-day event and thoroughly enjoyed his tap solo. “My mum made my red pants for it,” he said.

The dancer, who trains at the Chere McGregor Dance School, is not limited to tap and ballet, he also studies ballroom dancing, guitar, singing and is learning to play the flute.

Reuben’s mother, Jenny Chan, was a dancer when she was younger and said male dancers learn a different style to their female counterparts. “There are no pretty hand movements and no pretty feet movements. A different structure has to be taught.”

Mrs Chan, who is an assistant dance teacher, said she would continue to encourage Reuben to dance as long as he continued to enjoy it. “He gets a lot of self-confidence from dancing and he has a lot of fun too. That is really good for him,” she said.

Mrs Chan, who said she practically lives in dance studios, said her son was not having any difficulty being the only boy in his class. “His teacher thinks he is quite special and he gets on well with the girls, so as long as nobody teases him he will keep enjoying it,” she said.

© 2013 Fairfax New Zealand Limited

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