Four Port Elizabeth performers have won top honours while competing in Talent America in New York.
A group of three dancers from the Leanka Laubscher School of Dance – Laubscher and her students, Anneke Bushby and Bernard Cloete – won a combined 17 trophies at the event, which ran from July 5 to 9.
Dramatique studio student Meicqe Kotze walked away with six gold medals, one silver and one bronze in the different drama categories she competed in.
Laubscher, who competed in the 25-39 age group in dance and modelling and scooped first place in all her categories, said competing in Talent America had been a wonderful experience.
“I have brought so much back with me,” she said.
“The preparation for the competition was tiring because we worked for months on end.
“When you go there, you want to do your best. It was stressful but the rewards are all worth it and I didn’t even expect to win.”
Cloete, 16, a DF Malherbe High School pupil, competed in several hip-hop categories and won a special prize as the best entrant in his division.
He said that although he did not receive any callbacks, “a judge came up to me and said she enjoyed my dance routines but that next time, I had to add more”.
The hip-hop dancer, who has been dancing for five years, said he enjoyed it.
“It’s nice to embrace your emotions through dance and, with hip-hop, you don’t need any props, you just dance and feel it,” Cloete said.
Kotze,14, said the competition proved to her that South Africans have what it takes to compete on an international stage.
“I won my acting division, and it was definitely worthwhile. It was amazing being able to compete on an international level,” Kotze said.
“It is an amazing opportunity to be seen and as a performer you come back even more mature and serious about your craft.”
A South African team of 67 performers took part in Talent America, a competition for all performers including singers, dancers, actors and models.
Performers had to compete against tough competition called Talent Africa, firstly on a provincial level, then on a national level, with the final event in New York.