by By Marc Stapelberg
KAREN Ireland Dance Centre has had three ballet students selected for scholarships overseas.
Caitlin Garlick, 14, Kayla Van Den Bogert, 15, and Layne Hampson, 17, were all placed in the scholarships which will see them travel to countries such as Wales, America and Denmark.
Caitlin Garlick will travel to the Houston Ballet next Friday for two weeks after being awarded the scholarship at the Youth American Grand Prix Masterclass Auditions in Brisbane last October.
She said she was excited to learn from new teachers and experience living away from home for two weeks.
Kayla Van Den Bogert will also travel to the Houston Ballet and then onto the Royal Danish Ballet School after she came third in the 13-15 year old category at the The Alana Haines Australasian Awards.
Kayla will then travel on to Asian Grand Prix with Caitlin which takes place in Hong Kong in August.
It won't be the first time Kayla has travelled for ballet overseas who also competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York.
Layne Hampson, 17, will spend two weeks in Wales at Ballet Cymru after she was selected at the Australasian Ballet Challenge in Aubrey.
Ms Ireland said she was very proud of the girls and that it was rewarding to see them achieve after all the hard work.
The students have increased training to six days a week.
Ms Ireland who opened the dance studio in 2000 said she believed Australia had a large number of good teachers.
"I get great satisfaction out of seeing them getting better and seeing them enjoy it and loving this art form,” she said.
Former Goonellabah resident Lily Folpp has also been accepted into the prestigious Central School for Ballet in London. offering her a unique opportunity to fulfil her dreams of being a professional dancer.
The 17-year-old has spent the last two years at The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in Melbourne on a full scholarship.
She recently spent a week and a half touring Germany, Switzerland and London to take classes at pre-professional ballet schools using money she started saving at the age of 9.
"I had missed dates for European auditions due to the start of year's commitments, so I wrote to a number of schools asking if I could take class for a day and so embarked on a my very exciting and intense adventure on my own," Ms Folpp said.
The studious student also received, while in Melbourne, her Classical Ballet Solo Seal by the Royal Academy of Dance, London, which is an advanced section of her syllabus and an achievement only a handful of dancers receive worldwide each year.
In addition to her Year 11 subjects, Lily has also completed two Year 12 subjects and her TAFE qualifications which means she has been offered a place as a second-year student at the school in London.
"I was three years old when I first started and I've been dancing since then ... I just love ballet," Lily said.
It's not unusual to see a young child aspire to do ballet, but her mum never imagined that aspiration would continue to a career level.
Now the large tasks lies ahead for Ms Folpp to raise funds of $29,000 per year to pay for the degree as she is using the last $10,000 of her savings to pay for the deposit.
"To perform classical ballet is no longer a dream," she said.
"It will be my career and it is my ambition to bring this wonderful art to inspire and be enjoyed by many.
"Being immersed in this industry now has aided me to make the choice to also gain my teaching qualification to share what I have learnt with others."