Talented young East London dancer Tamia Latola is heading to New York next year to represent SA in the Princess Pageant Talent Africa competition.
The Cambridge High School pupil took part in the Eastern Cape Regional competition in Gqeberha in March. She then went on to compete in the hip hop, jazz, and contemporary dance category in the National competitions from September 28 to October 9 in Johannesburg. She was awarded platinum, gold, and silver medals respectively.
The 16-year-old, who choreographed her dance pieces herself, said she was thrilled at the opportunity to represent SA.
“For me, it was amazing being back on stage and competing after Covid.
“It was a lot of pressure as it was my first time competing without being registered in a dance studio.
“It was also my first time choreographing my own pieces so I was very nervous, but overall this competition was by far my most successful.
“Talent Africa is truly a family of performers and that is what made it so exciting and fun,” said Tamia.
She was judged on technique, stage presence, and overall impression by two scouts from the US who have been contracted to scout talent for the upcoming boot camp.
Tamia first started dancing in front of the family’s television at the age of six, and with the support of her parents, she is on her way to realizing her dream of becoming a world-renowned dancer.
Tamia said the experience had taught her a lot about herself.
“This achievement gives me the courage to know that I can achieve my highest goals, and also made me realize that I am capable of so much more.
“This really motivated me to want to become a bigger and better dancer.
“It was quite tricky not belonging to a dance studio which resulted in me not having access to professional choreographers.
“But with the guidance and support from my dance teachers at school and the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years, I successfully choreographed dance pieces during my dance lessons after school and at home on weekends.”
Her father, Anthony Latola, is immensely proud of his daughter and encouraged other parents to support their children’s talents.
“I am the proudest father. As a child, she was always the dancing entertainer, but what stood out was her natural skills and the intensity she did it in.
“I then enrolled her in a charity event where she was seen by Steps of Style and given a scholarship.
“My advice to parents is that when you discover the potential in your child, give them all the support you can and become their number one fan, that is what lifts their spirit and self-belief,” he said.
Tamia is busy working on choreographing her new dance routines and will be heading off to New York in July next year.