Ballerina Kayla-Maree Tarantolo flew to Amsterdam last Sunday to begin a two-year scholarship with the prestigious Dutch National Ballet School after winning an $18,000 Sydney Eisteddfod scholarship.
The Bella Vista dancer, 15, was the youngest competitor and beat seven finalists selected from a pool of 179 young dancers who applied for the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald's Ballet Scholarship.
During five days the entrants passed through a series of elimination heats to compete in the finals at the Sydney Opera House on August 3.
She had surgery in June to extract extra bone growth from her feet and had only been cleared for dancing two weeks before the competition.
‘‘It was very overwhelming and a huge surprise,’’ the former St Michael's Primary School student said.
‘‘I didn’t even know if I’d be able to it [compete] because of the surgery.’’
Her Dutch scholarship is a two-year program and bachelor of arts, will be the first time she will study ballet full time.
‘‘I’m very excited and a bit nervous,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve been to London and America before for shorter programs but this is very new.
‘‘The whole experience of being in another country is amazing.
‘‘I’m expecting to learn new choreography and I think the techniques and their way of teaching will be different.’’
Kayla-Maree’s mother Francesca Tarantolo will accompany her for the first six weeks to help her settle in.
‘‘I’m so appreciative of my parents for making this big decision of letting me go,’’ she said.
‘‘If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have this opportunity.’’