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180419 SS 0184 kelly reid irish dancerPerforming at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre was a career highlight for Kelly Reid. Photo supplied.Dancing professionally is all about catering to your audience, and in Ashburton that was an exciting career highlight for Kelly Reid.

The Otago University student was in his home town as Rhythms of Ireland staged in front of a sell-out crowd at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre on Thursday night.

Reid and his fellow cast members danced up a storm to an appreciative audience, which in turn energised performers on what was the third show of the tour.

“This is my first professional show. It’s completely different to competition dancing which I’m used to. It’s all about catering to your audience,” Reid said.

“In competitions, you’re trying to be technically perfect to score the 100 points. But for shows you can relax into your technique to match the other dancers.

“It’s nice being able to do this alongside six other New Zealand dancers. For a lot of us, me included, this is our first time doing a professional show.”

He said another aspect giving the show its energetic appeal was the dynamic between cast members, and it was “heaps of fun” being on stage with them.

“After only spending a few weeks together, we have gotten so close. On our days off, we’ve gone to Bluff and danced at an Irish pub.”

Reid has come a long way from trying out some moves while watching a Riverdance DVD in his lounge room.

He began his affair with Irish dancing as a five-year-old, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers.

It was in the 1990s, following the Riverdance craze, and Reid and his siblings would watch the DVD of the show over and over again.

Their mum swept them off to dance lessons in Ashburton at their request, where Reid and his brothers and younger sister excelled, and they ultimately joined the O’Neill School of Irish Dance in Christchurch.

They competed nationally and travelled the world, going to Ireland and Philadelphia for world championship events, and Australia for Australasian championships.

Reid has many a win under his belt, having won four national titles and placing in the top 10 at the worlds.

Today Reid is 24 and studying a masters in psychology at the University of Otago.

He hung up his dancing shoes after graduating from Ashburton College, but put them back on last year when a teacher began Irish dance lessons in Dunedin.

He heard about performing with Rhythms of Ireland when the Kiwi lead who had been chosen sent him a Facebook message.

Ashleigh John asked him if he would be interested in joining the cast, so he emailed the producers, and they asked him to send them a video of him dancing.

The rest is history as they say, and soon after Reid left for Sydney for rehearsals with fellow cast members.

He was one of six Kiwi dancers who have been selected to join the cast, featuring Ireland’s most outstanding and elite company of dancers. It is Rhythms of Ireland’s 10th anniversary show, and the first time back in New Zealand since a sell-out tour in 2010.

Rhythms of Ireland is touring New Zealand until May 8.

© The Ashburton Guardian - 21 April 2019

college logoWith a big season looming, Ashburton College A coach Kaye Kennedy couldn’t have asked for much more from her side during Canterbury’s inter-centre netball competition, than what they gave her.

The pre-season tournament was held at Ashburton’s EA Networks Centre over two Sundays, with most teams playing four games all up, and not many teams managed to go through unbeaten.

But, Ashburton College A was one that did – the only one of the Mid Canterbury teams taking part to do so.

They backed up their two wins on day one with wins against two fellow school sides on Sunday, first taking on Timaru’s Craighead A and winning 54-51, before downing Rangiora High School A 59-48.

They were performances which gave the side confidence ahead of a busy start to the official season in the first week of May, where they will face their first Mid Canterbury Netball premier one competition game, and SuperNet qualification where they hoped to make it back into the top grade, in the space of a couple of days.

Day two of the inter-centre competition wasn’t as successful for Mid Canterbury’s other teams, with Mid Canterbury’s defending premier one champions Celtic starting the day with a resounding 54-28 win over fellow local side Hampstead A in the morning before losing a narrow one in the afternoon.

They took on Christchurch’s Marist Albion and after a nail-biting final quarter fell just short, 47-45.

For Hampstead A, the news didn’t get much better in their second outing of the day as they went down 49-35 to Timaru’s Harlequins A, while Mid Canterbury’s other premier one grade team – Methven A – had a mixed bag on day two.

Methven A lost 55-42 to Timaru’s Old Boys A in game one, before beating Rolleston 51-40 in the final game of the day.

Selwyn’s Broadfield A and Christchurch’s Kia Toa A were two of the other unbeaten teams over the two days, with Broadfield A downing Harlequins A 64-41, and Old Boys A 71-45 on Sunday.

Kia Toa beat Rangiora High School 60-42 and Craighead A 50-35 on Sunday.

Mid Canterbury’s two premier two sides – Southern A and United A – also had a mixed day, with Southern A’s second Sunday featuring a narrow loss to Christchurch school side Villa Maria 44-40, while United A lost 54-36 to Marist Albion and UC A 65-41.

UC A was one of a number of visiting sides featuring a familiar face, with former Mainland Beko Netball league player Kelsey Ashworth proving to be a force in the mid-court.

In their second game on day two, UC A took on Technical B and won 59-47.

There is now a bit of a break for Mid Canterbury Netball’s premier sides before their Thursday night competition kicks off on May 2.

When they do get back on court, the first round of premier one will see defending champions Celtic A taking on the team they beat in last year’s final, Methven A, while Celtic B will play Hampstead A, and Ashburton College A will take on Mt Somers A – a side which didn’t take part in the inter-centre competition.

The first round of premier two will see United A play Hampstead B, Southern A play Ashburton College A, and Methven B play Celtic C.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 17 April 2019

Swimmers Mitchell Veix Blake Farr Bree Middleton Hannah King webAshburton swimmers (from left) Mitchell Veix, Blake Farr, Bree Middleton and Hannah King are competing at the age group nationals in Wellington this week.Four young Ashburton swimmers are off to Wellington this week to compete against New Zealand’s best swimmers in their age groups.

Wellington is this week hosting the 2019 National Age Group Swimming Championships and among the swimmers set to take to the starting blocks over what is set to be a tough few days in the water are Ashburton Swim Team members Bree Middleton, Blake Farr, Hannah King and Mitchell Veix.

For Veix and King, both 13, it will be their first time competing at a national championship, and all four Ashburton swimmers have had to produce top swims already this season in order to qualify to be eligible to compete at the national level.

Veix’s main focus will be butterfly. He’s set to swim in the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, with the 400m individual medley also added in.

King will hit the water in the 200m breaststroke, the 400m individual medley, and the 800m and 400m freestyle, while Farr, 15, is focused solely on freestyle, competing over the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, and 1500m distances.

Middleton, 15, is also a freestyler and she’ll compete over 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m.

It was over the 100m distance where Middleton won bronze at the Victorian State Championships in Australia in December.

Ashburton swim team coach Shane Jones’ hopes for all four of his young charges at the national age group champs, are for them to swim new personal bests and make finals.

It is set to be a huge event, with 734 of the best age group swimmers from around the country set to come together for five intense days of competition where club, regional and national honours are at stake.

Action is set to get under way tomorrow in Wellington and it will run until Saturday.

It will follow a format of heats in the mornings and finals in the late afternoon.

Along with the hundreds of swimmers, around 200 coaches and more than 300 supporters are expected to converge on the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kirbirnie for the big week of swimming.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 15 April 2019