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Set the floor on fire

At just 10 years old Meloney Branford from Parklands has secured her spot to represent the province in the Talent Africa Nationals dance competition in April and she’s on the verge of releasing her first book.

The Riverside College learner’s dancing journey started when she joined DX Dance studio at the age of three.

“She has been named the dance studio’s brand ambassador for 2020,” says her proud mother Ja-nine. She is very passionate about dancing and has represented South Africa internationally twice, in 2017 and 2019.”

Meloney does ballet, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, acro and now also tap dancing.

Ja-nine says her daughter loves the freedom to express herself and share stories with the audience through dance.

In the build up to the competition, Meloney practices six days a week for at least two hours a day.

“She works on her routines daily making sure they are flawless, but also making small changes to ensure her chances for gold medals are good.

“Her focus and dedication is unwavering. She has a daily stretch routine that she runs through every night which has been devised for her by her dance teacher, Michelle Cundari,” says Ja-nine

“I have seen how much dancing has helped Meloney with focus, discipline and self-confidence to name a few and these also aid her in her academics,” says Ja-nine.

Dancing seems to be in Meloney’s bloodline as her mother was a dancer as a child. “I did ballet when I was younger so dancing is something that the two of us understand and enjoy together, but the inspiring one is really Meloney,” says Ja-nine.

The young dancer says she already has a plan for the national competition. “When I dance I’m at my happiest. I can’t wait to perform and share my beautiful dances with the audience in Port Elizabeth. I have a special dance with a special story to tell that will be performed for the first time at the nationals,” says Meloney. 

Ja-nine says she still gets tears in her eyes when she watches her daughter perform. “To say I’m proud of her is really an understatement. Meloney has worked so hard to reach her goals and she continues to do that. I have seen so much growth in her. Her raw emotion and ability to capture the audience and tell a story is just mesmerising. 

“She also wrote a book last year titled A Dancer’s Diary. It’s in the final approval stage and already has an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). We are hoping to self-publish it by March this year.”

The national dance competition takes place in Port Elizabeth from Wednesday 1 April until Saturday 4 April. Ja-nine says all gold medal winners will be invited to represent South Africa at Talent America in New York later in 2020.

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