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The Inverell Times

Taking the voice on the road

FOUR local contestants are off to the regional finals in Tamworth of the Karaoke World Championships, Australian Trials.

SINGING?CHAMPION: Shandell Morrow won the local competition.

SINGING?CHAMPION: Shandell Morrow won the local competition.

After 10 weeks of performances, the finals were held last Saturday night at Inverell’s Empire Hotel. 

Competition organiser Rolande Hooklyn said about 200 people came to cheer on the singers.

The judging panel of Narelle Kennedy, Fay Redal, Darren Byrnes, Alistair Williams and Rikki Anderson from Brisbane award Shandell Morrow first place, Ridge Wilkins came second, Shevaun Stapleton came third, and Kylie Berry awarded fourth. 

There were two runners up in Danyelle Harris and Peter Cole.

“Our place getters will now be representing Inverell in the North West of NSW finals to be help in Tamworth in September where they will compete against other singers throughout NSW,” Rolande said. 

“Then one winner will then be moving on to compete for the Australian title in November to be held in Tweed Heads, with a chance to compete in Sweden against singers from other countries.”

She extended thanks to Empire publican Marty Tuck for supporting the event. 

“As a result (Marty) has opted to run Social Karaoke on a weekly basis so anyone wishing to compete next year can start working on stage confidence etc.” Rolande said.

The regional final will be held at 2pm, September 13, at the Tamworth Services Club.

 More information about the Karaoke World Championships can be found on the website http://kwcaustralia.com.au.


The Inverell Times

Tots gettin' in the groove

THERE was nothing but life and activity at the Sapphire City Dance Studio on Wednesday morning when the Mini Groovers entered the building.

Mini Groovers is a free program with Inverell Family and Youth Support Services. 

Under the patient guidance of dance teacher Rolande Hooklyn, preschool-aged children learned aspects of co-ordination, self-confidence, musicality, movement and following direction. 

Amy Rushby has brought her four-year-old daughter Elizabeth to the program since the beginning of term one. 

They both look forward to Wednesday mornings.

“She loves dancing, and she’s learning all the formative things, like footwork and even skipping.”

Amy said it was amazing how the group of so many young, distractible children had gradually learned to follow direction.

“Every week it gets a bit better,” she said.

“They used to all just run amok, and so the fact that they’re all staying (in) there – the majority – is a massive improvement. 

“So by the end of the year, it should be really good,” she said with a grin.

Mum Tracey Byrne’s music-loving son Riley, age three, is also in his second term with the Mini Groovers. 

She said his footwork and arm co-ordination had improved. 

“I couldn’t ask for a better place, a better teacher; she’s lovely. And she’s so clear, and the kids understand;, she has got the patience,” she said.

Stacey Budda-Deen brought little two-year-old Ryan. She said her son takes the moves home and performs. 

“Like the side-stepping, he’d never done before, but he does do that. 

“He’ll go ‘Look mum!’ and he’s going across the lounge room, and so he’s remembering things,” she said laughing.

“And the mothers here, they’re so lovely.”

Stacey said: “It’s the right balance between getting them to do what she wants, but it’s also very fun.”

Rolande said she relished the class because of the challenge working with so many young and busy minds. 

“I love the way the mums watch on, and the little things make them so proud,” she said.



Rolande cutting France stay short 

LOCAL dance teacher Rolande Hooklyn has been working in France but is cutting short her stay to return home after her dance classes were left without a teacher. 

Rolande, who was born in France and migrated to Australia at the age of 11, said she had jumped at the chance to work in her homeland.

“For me it would have been the first time in my life to work as a French person in the country in which I was born,” Rolande said.

Rolande has only been in France less than three weeks but is now returning home and will be back teaching at Sapphire City Dance Academy on February 11.

She said a relief dance teacher had been organised to take charge at her Sapphire City Dance Academy classes, but those plans had been aborted after she arrived in France.

The sudden absence of a teacher meant the dance classes would not be able to continue without her.

“Certainly I am very saddened to be cutting my trip short, but out of respect for the community and the children of the Dance Academy I truly do not mind coming home early.”

Despite the short stay Rolande said she did get the chance to work on stage with Norbet Zorbib, a well-known entertainer, hypnotist and magician.

“He knew me well as a child and this was something we had planned for quite some time,” Rolande said.

“He is related to me via marriage and I am so lucky and privileged to had been given the opportunity to work with him.”

Rolande said leaving France after less than three weeks was a huge sacrifice but said she owed it to the local community to come home.


Well done Georgia Mackson:



Jay dances his way to a scholarship

13 Jan, 2012 12:17 PM
INVERELL dance instructor Jay Tickle has won a scholarship with the Australian Dance Performance Institute (ADPI) in Brisbane, which will see him study there for his Advanced Diploma of Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance as well as his HSC.

Jay is a 15-year-old who is well known for his talent in local dance circles and a top student of Rolande Hooklyn’s Sapphire School Of Dance.

“Jay started dancing with me in 2006 and during that time he mainly wanted to do jazz, the boy’s thing, jazz, hip hop and all that sort of thing,” Rolande said.

“I saw he had great potential, and I figured if he wanted to be good at all gender of dances he would have to do classical ballet as well, so we talked him into doing that as well.

“That proved to be very popular, he has the ability to dance any style. It got to the stage where Jay was extremely elite, so I offered him a teaching position here at the studio, so he taught a lot of children, has influenced a lot of children and is highly respected by a lot of children at the academy,” Rolande said.

As a result Jay went on to teach dance at Macintyre High School and Tingha Public School.

“I found that when you are a child who pushes yourself to the limit in each and every class, if you don’t have anyone with you as good as you, to make you work as hard or harder, you tend to go a bit stale and that’s what I was finding with Jay,” Rolande said.

“So I suggested for him to dance full time with a dance studio in Brisbane and his mum took him up for an interview and an audition.

“Barbara Eversen from the ADPI was happy to take him on because she could see his potential and has offered a huge reduction in the fees worth about $6000 to $8000. He’s now going to be dancing full time and hopefully after the next couple of years we’ll see his name up in lights,” Rolande said.

Jay’ mother, Trudy Shepherd, said she was extremely proud of her son.

“He’s worked his butt off basically, he’s done really, really well,” Trudy said.http://www.inverelltimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/hip-hop-dancers-heading-to-melbourne/2362478.aspx



  Ms ROLANDE WILL BE ADJUDICATING THE GULGONG DANCE EISTEDDFOD IN MAY 2011   http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/news/local/news/general/dancers-wow-eisteddfod/2149590.aspx


  Jay’s dancing his way to a bright future: By-KATE GAFFNEY
20 Aug, 2010
JAY Tickle first stepped onto the dance floor six years ago at Sapphire City Dance Academy for jazz and tap classes. Since then he has discovered a love for contemporary and hip hop and more recently, a love for teaching others to dance.  “Contemporary is my favourite, but hip hop is awesome to teach.  “I started off with jazz with Rolande at the Sapphire City Dance Academy and then last year she offered me a job teaching hip hop,” Jay said.

Jay takes classes at the academy on Wednesday nights and has just started teaching grade six students from Tingha Public School on Thursday afternoons. He choreographed a series of hip hop routines and is now teaching the class of 16 kids, free of charge, in preparation for the North West Dance Festival that will be held in Tamworth in November.  “The Tingha kids are doing really well and having a lot of fun,” he said.

While Jay is preparing Tingha Public for the dance festival he is also preparing himself to compete with the Macintyre High Dance Troop. The Macintyre High group will be performing a contemporary piece and Jay will be the only male, performing with 16 girls.

Interest in Jay’s hip hop classes grew after his public performance as King Louie in the Sapphire City Dance Academy’s rendition of the Jungle Book. Dancing has taken Jay to Sydney several times over the last couple of years. He has gone to Sydney as part of the New England Regional Dance Ensemble for the last four years, been involved in choreographing sessions, competed in eisteddfods, performed at youth camps and was one of 30 students selected in NSW for a boys dance camp for state school students.  “The boys camp was based on hip hop. “Going to things like that gives me inspiration and helps me put the moves into different sequences and work them into songs,” Jay said.

All of Jay’s choreography work begins in his lounge room at home with loud music, something his mum Trudy is quite ok with.  “I’m getting used to it now.  “Whenever we get in the car the kids are always fighting over what song to put on. “Music is always pumping loudly but I don’t mind,” Trudy said.

Jay firmly believes his future is with dance and hopes to be able to pursue it further, as well as the teaching aspect.  “I would love to go to a performing arts school in Brisbane,” he said.  In the mean time Jay continues to give up his time to teach Tingha students and assist hip hop enthusiasts at the academy on Wednesday nights.

Sapphire City Dance Academy director Rolande Hooklyn threw her support behind Jay when she offered him a teaching position and has not looked back.  “It takes a very special gift to be able to teach others.  “I feel Jay has a very natural gift to teach and he has a big future ahead of him,” Ms Hooklyn said.

  Ballet dancer shares her talent  By: Kate Gaffney - 10 Aug, 2010 01:12pm


SAPPHIRE City Dance Academy has welcomed the talent and experience of ballet dancer and teacher Jenni Brown. Miss Jenni is now teaching classes from primary to intermediate levels at the academy and is thoroughly enjoying it. “I love it, I really love it. “When I was learning ballet it was very disciplined but now I think it’s important to have a balance between discipline and fun which is what I try to do,” Jenni said.

Jenni, along with her partner Mark and two daughters moved to Ashford a little over a year ago after leaving the coastal lifestyle of Cabarita for a change of pace. Initially Jenni was apprehensive about the move to the country but since arriving has enjoyed every minute of it. “I’m so happy here and it is a great place to raise children,” she said. “And the kids at the dance studio are so enthusiastic and excited about ballet, it’s great.”

Ballet has taken Jenni to the Australian School of Ballet, Ballet South in Alabama and the Metropolitan Ballet in Detroit where she trained under artistic director Carl Condon. These days she is busy teaching three days a week in Texas, Ashford and now Inverell. After settling into the country lifestyle Jenni is quite happy to stay long term. Green Valley Farm has become a favourite for Jenni and her two daughters. “What I really like about the area is there is no ageism. “Kids of all ages and all backgrounds can just get together and play along happily,” she said.

  Kymberleigh dances her way to the top 06 Aug, 2010   http://www.inverelltimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/kymberleigh-dances-her-way-to-the-top/1906511.aspx

INVERELL ballet dancer Kymberleigh Cowley danced her way into the final round of the McDonald’s Ballet Scholarships in Sydney last Monday.

Kymberleigh left Inverell at the age of 14 to pursue her dreams and reached the final round of the scholarships last year.

After qualifying a second time she is looking forward to the dance-off that will take place at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday.

For the past two years, Kymberleigh has been studying with Josephine Jason and Allan Cross at the Australian International Ballet Academy at The McDonald College, North Strathfield and gained considerable experience dancing with the Premier State Ballet.

With her heart set on joining a professional classical ballet company Kymberleigh hopes to continue her studies at the English National Ballet School and will head for London later in the year.

The outright winner of the scholarship receives $3,000 cash and a $15,000 scholarship, the best dancer of the opposite sex $12,000 and the six unplaced finalists $1,000 each.

Kymberleigh was selected as one of eight finalists dancing for the scholarship on Sunday.

By: JOSH PATERSON - 28 Jul, 2010 11:25 AM

IT’S HOT, Latin, sexy and fun - and it’s arrived in Armidale. It’s called Zumba - and it’s a fitness class based on South American dance. Zumba has been brought to Armidale by Inverell dance teacher Rolande Hooklyn, who held an initial class at the Ex-Services Club, with more sessions planned. “Zumba has really taken off. I was recently up on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane and it’s so popular up there they run classes outside in the park,” Ms Hooklyn said. “Zumba is essentially a fitness program based on Latin dance moves. “The beauty of Zumba apart from the catchy music, is it gives you a total body workout, especially in your core area.”

Ms Hooklyn plans to run Zumba classes in tandem with Latin dance classes in Armidale. Zumba classes for kids called Zumbatonic, aimed at children 14 years and under, are also in the pipeline. Ms Hooklyn said an unintended result of her Zumba classes in Inverell has been weight loss for many of the participants. “I don’t claim Zumba to be a weight loss program, but I’ve a lot of people tell me they’ve lost a lot of weight as a result,” she said. More

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