Pupil wins first place at dance competition

Bilquees Alexander, 17, a Grade 12 pupil at Belgravia High School, holds the trophy she won at the DanceStar World Finals. Celebrating her winning performance, is principal André Buis.

A Belgravia High Grade 12 pupil blew the judges away at an international dance competition, where she won first place for her solo performance.

Bilquees Alexander, 17, who is also a student at the Eoan Group School of the Performing Arts, qualified to take part in the International DanceStar World Finals, which was held in Croatia last month. It was here that she was chosen as the winner in the senior open category.

Bilquees has been dancing since the age of 5, and does ballet, contemporary, belly dance and hip hop. It was her mixture of belly dance and contemporary dance that secured her win. This was her first international dance competition.

“I was so confused when they called out my name as the winner. I didn’t want to believe that it was me. I even asked the judge who gave me the trophy if it really was for me. I did not expect that at all,” Bilquees giggled.

She fell in love with dance at the Eoan Group, Bilquees said. Her favourite dance style is contemporary dance, and she practises up to six times a week.

“Dance transports me to a place where I am the only one there. With dance, I never feel demotivated. It is rare that I actually see the audience, or the people around me once I am in that mode.

“I would like to do dance on a professional level, and part of that plan is to go overseas and learn some more,” she said.

She finds balance between her love for dance and school work, Bilquees said.

Her advice to her peers: “Your dreams are never too big. Work hard towards it and don’t slack. If you really love your craft, you will give it your all. There are no excuses, and no matter how long it will take, it will definitely be worth it.”

Belgravia High School principal, André Buis, said three qualities distinguish Bilquees from her peers – humility, goal directness and her work ethic.

“Certainly these qualities should be the cornerstone and foundation of every pupil. Hence, the reason why Bilquees is the epitome not only for a success story, but that it embodies our slogan for the year, which is: ‘Excellence never happens by chance’. It is always the result of hard work, planning, and the ability to see stumbling blocks as opportunities.

“We are extremely proud of her impeccable achievement,” Mr Buis said.