A DUBLIN teenager is dancing her way towards a bright future as one of our top ballet stars.
Kate Finn (17) from Casement Drive in Finglas has been dancing since she was just five, and the years of dedication are now being rewarded.
She has been accepted into the College of Dance in Monkstown. "The audition took four and a half hours. It included a solo and an interview. It's a two-year diploma course in professional dance, and I will start in September," said Kate who is currently in Leaving Cert year at the Margaret Alyward Community College in Whitehall.
In the longer term, she said she would love to go to England to do a degree and pursue a career as a dancer.
"I am going to go along the ballet, jazz route," she explained. However, it takes hours and hours of practice every week as well as extreme dedication to get to this level.
Kate attends two or three dance classes in Dundrum during the week, and every Saturday spends from 10am until 5pm in classes. In addition to that, she said: "I practice at home all the time."
She is now set to take on her biggest role to date as the Seawitch in the upcoming Irish National Youth Ballet company's performance of The Little Mermaid.
"The performances will be in front of a live orchestra conducted by Ciaran Crilly," explained Kate.
A group of around 30 from her school have already booked to see the performance.
"The school has been very supportive of me, both the girls and the teachers," she said.
Kate said that when she was younger, at around 12 or 13, she did experience some teasing about doing ballet.
"They didn't understand what it was and why I was so into it," she said.
Some who take up ballet when they are young give up because it can be difficult and time-consuming to learn techniques such as dancing en pointe -- the classic ballet technique of dancing on the tips of the toes, explained Kate.
The Little Mermaid is in April and May in the O'Reilly Theatre, Belvedere College and the Civic Theatre, Tallaght.