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Belated ballerina

Justine Kingdon of Tangled Ballet Featherston. PHOTO/FACEBOOK



Justine Kingdon always wanted to be a nun… or a ballerina.

And it was the latter that called her name louder, having danced her way into the Royal London Circus.

Now, based out of Featherston’s historic Fareham House, as well as starting up Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Narnia, she has launched her own ballet company, Tangled Ballet.

But it’s not your typical dance school, and Justine isn’t your typical teacher.

Justine learned ballet as a young child but said she quickly grew bored with the structure of lessons and lost her love of dance by the age of 12 as a result.

“I remember as a child going to my sister’s ballet classes and it was like stepping into a Degas painting… I couldn’t wait to join in.

“But when I joined these classes, over time it all became so mundane… it just seemed to kick [the passion] out of me.”

Justine continued into contemporary dancing, and later retrained in ballet under the likes of Dorothea Ashbridge (Royal New Zealand Ballet), Felicity Molloy (Limbs Dance Company), and Marianne Schultz (Laura Dean Dance Company).

“In going back as an adult and training professionally in ballet, I just realised how much I love technique as much as I love freedom.

“I personally don’t like the grades, I don’t like exams, I don’t like uptight ballet teachers.

“I don’t like the idea that everybody should be skinny, I just like to teach something that makes you feel like your dancing but also uses your intelligence and body connection.”

“That’s what we do.”

Tangle Ballet officially opened on Saturday, catering to people with the dream of becoming a ballerina aged 8 to 80+.

“When it comes to ballet, it’s a dream of many children — I had that dream.

“It’s interesting picking up people at various stages of their lives who want to revisit that dream.

“I say your dream is possible. Why shouldn’t it be?”

For more information, visit the Tangled Ballet Featherston Facebook page.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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