Bendigo teenager Ryan Denton has been dancing for just a few years, but already he has plans to break into international competition.
The 16-year-old Catholic College Bendigo student, who dances standard, Latin and New Vogue, hopes to compete at the German Open Championships in Stuttgart next August.
Ryan said the event was considered a good entry into international competition, which could pave the way to an illustrious career.
Ryan began dancing about three years ago and entered his first competition in March 2015.
He says he didn’t do too well at that time, but a swag of medals – including a third place in New Vogue in the adult section of the Australian Championships – suggests he has improved considerably since then.
It was at the suggestion of his father that Ryan first tried dancing and discovered he liked it.
He said it was an “awesome stress reliever” and he found he was interested in learning more about the technique and style.
About four months ago Ryan started dancing with his current partner, Annabelle Shimmins.
They will dance their first competition together this weekend at the Diamond Jubilee Dance and Dancesport Championship.
Ryan said he and Annabelle did not focus too much on what else was happening on the floor in competition; they ultimately just wanted to enjoy themselves.
But he said he also enjoyed the energy of a competition.
“I do it because I like it, and if I win, that’s a bonus,” he said.
His mother, Louisa Joyberry, added he was a perfectionist and if he took something on, it was never done half-heartedly.
This dedication to dance made itself known during the school holidays, with Ryan spending a week training for several hours a day, both at iDance in Bendigo and at his second studio, Pivot Dance Studio, in Melbourne.
He said that even during term he danced for at least an hour a day, using making use of meal breaks and free periods at school to catch up on work.
Ryan thanks his coaches – Bronwyn Williams, Jeremy Garner, Antonio Micheli and Katusha Volgina – for their guidance, and Tully Williams for giving him a solid foundation.
Ms Joyberry said she was “proud as punch” of her son.
She said he had not only natural talent but dedication, and he had done well against boys and men who had been dancing for much longer.
“I’m happy he’s found his niche, I’m excited for his future, I can’t wait to see his career unfold,” she said.
But she said the costs associated with dancing were high, so she hoped the community would support Ryan’s dream of competing in Germany.
She has set up a GoFundMe page for those who want to provide financial support to Ryan.
The page can be found by searching ‘Support Ryan to represent Australia’ at www.gofundme.com.