One of Broken Hill’s rising stars, 10-year-old Zahra Cawley, had her upward trajectory recognised at the Jump Dance Challenge in Adelaide two weeks ago when she placed as fourth Overall Champion Dancer and earned the Rising Star award.
Zahra won four first prizes, three second prizes and a third but it was her way of conducting herself which made the judges choose her as the Rising Star.
“There’s probably a couple of people I met that were really lovely and I cheered them on and congratulated them because it’s a nice thing to do,” said Zahra.
“A friend looked sad because she came fourth and I was like ‘Wow, that was very good,’ instead of talking about my first prize.
“Sometimes if you say ‘That’s really good,’ they will think that they did a good job.”
Zahra was recognised for her sportsmanship, which is what the Rising Star award is about, according to Zahra’s mother, Kim Cawley.
“The Rising Star wins $50 to spend at Jump Nationals, a $400 photo shoot and I might be able to be a Jump Ambassador,” said Zahra.
She will also go to the Jump Dance Challenge Nationals competition in July, which will include four workshops from people who are “really good” at teaching choreographies.
Zahra’s accolades are well-deserved.
Nobody who watched her whirl across the stage of the Seniors’ Variety Concert recently could have guessed that she had finished her dance competition in Adelaide at nine o’clock the night before and travelled to Broken Hill by car on the day of the concert, with only some extra stretches after being cramped in the car.
“She’s just an outback kid trying to get to the comps,” said Kim.
“Most people do a comp every weekend but it’s six hours’ travel for us,” said Zahra.
Kim would love to take Zahra every second weekend to dance competitions but it is too expensive because it includes accommodation.
Many of Zahra’s competitors attend performing arts schools, which have schoolwork for three hours a day, then the rest is dance.
“Zahra does Mrs B. every week, then Zoom,” said Kim, referring to Zahra’s “amazing teacher,” Joy Baldwin.
“We live in the outback. We can give it a shot.”
Zahra and Kim press on and even drove to Adelaide in the recent deluge.
“We’ll be back and forwards, up and down that road a few times,” said Kim.
“Our car knows its way.”