Tameka dances her way to the podium

Tameka shows off her medal.

Three months after receiving a merit certificate at the South African International Ballet Competition, Tameka Stephanus, 15, from Rondevlei Park was second runner up in the contemporary category of the Ballet Repertoire Competition hosted by the Theatre Dance Academy last weekend.

Tameka started dancing at the Eoan Group in Athlone at the age of 5 and dreamed of becoming a professional dancer.

In March she received a merit certificate for the dancer with the most potential, who made the most impact on the judges at the SA International Ballet Competition.

In the latest competition, in which she was second runner-up in the under-16 contemporary category, she went up against 19 others.

The Ballet Repertoire Competition, hosted by the Theatre Dance Academy, took place on Sunday June 10 at Artscape and saw dancers from across the country participate.

The contemporary piece she performed was titled Conversations with the Floor, which was choreographed by the Eoan Group’s Mishkaah Medell.

She also won a dance scholarship.

Tameka said she was overwhelmed by her achievement and that what had added to her anxiety before she danced, was seeing some of the other dancers perform as she stood by in the wings.

However, it was also a blessing, she said, because it motivated her to push herself harder.

“Placing in the top three made me feel confident for my dancing career. I was also really happy I placed because I worked really hard. It is very rewarding.”

Tameka, who is also a Grade 10 pupil at Spine Road High School, said she hoped that her achievement proved to others that hard work pays off.

“I would like to be an inspiration to other young people,” she said.

Tameka’s mother, Amy, said she was extremely happy for her daughter as well as for all the hard work of her dance teachers.

“Tameka is a really hard working and she always makes us proud.”

She said she was grateful to all the staff at the Eoan Group.

Principal of the Eoan Group Abeedah Medell said she was excited about Tameka’s achievement.

“Hard work pays off. The rewards come when you least expect them. This is her time. She is being acknowledged for her talent, but she still has a lot more to give.”

However, she added, Tameka needed to continue to work hard.