Tatijana Ignjatov, a 12-year-old Bishop Bavin School learner, won the 2018 DanceStar competition held in Porec, Croatia, in May.
The 2018 DanceStar competition hosted 7 000 dancers from 30 countries.
Tatijana received a full sponsorship during the SA DanceStar qualifiers from Chris Stapelberg to travel with SA Dance Talent to the 2018 DanceStar competition.
She walked away with the grand prize of €6 000 (approximately R93 500) for the first place.
She said she was shocked but also proud of herself for winning and is thankful to her parents for supporting her.
Dance has taken Tatijana around the world, including the UK, Romania, Serbia, Germany and Poland.
Tatijana also gives thanks to her choreographer Hope Maimane who travels a lot but trains with her whenever he is available in SA.
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“I want to invest the money for my future. I really am grateful that I have everything I want right now,” said Tatijana.
She also won Best Female Talent for the Classical Chapter which includes jazz, modern, acrobatics and ballet.
Tatijana said it takes an ample amount of hard work and training to achieve what she has.
She trains every day at home and also three times a week at Carstens/Ireland Ballet School in Bedfordview.
“I don’t find training difficult. It is fun and it’s the only way to get to the top,” said Tatijana.
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She said when it comes to her routines she does a lot of turns and kicks and expresses her emotions through her dance.
“It’s all about the technique and controlling every movement,” said Tatijana.
She kept her eyes on the Philippines dance team during the competition.
“The team members are experienced professional hip-hop dancers who catch every beat. They look like one person when they are dancing,” said Tatijana.
She does get nervous but she knows that nerves are good.
“I just breathe in and out and then I’m okay,” said Tatijana.
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She loves dancing modern routines, where she can convey what she feels to the audience.
She is grateful for all the support she has received from Bishop Bavin School, through advertising her dancing and allowing her to take time for her dancing.
“My teachers help me catch up on work that I miss,” said Tatijana who is fond of maths and natural science.
Next on Tatijana’s list of accomplishments is the World of Dance finals in America.
She is still in need of sponsorship for the trip and is most excited to get on television for the World of Dance.
“Tatijana is a delightful young woman. She does not flaunt her obvious abilities both in academia and her dancing prowess. She has always been kind to her friends and remains well-liked and humble. She is a leader, but in a gentle and unassuming manner,” said deputy preparatory principal at Bishop Bavin, Lynette Wyszkowski.