Dance on the biggest stage

DANCE: Whydale Calisthenics Club junior dancers Indiah Roberts (left) and Marley Mayes (right) will head to Perth in July to compete in nationals.
DANCE: Whydale Calisthenics Club junior dancers Indiah Roberts (left) and Marley Mayes (right) will head to Perth in July to compete in nationals.

For the first time in Whyalla’s history two girls under the age of 10 will be competing on the biggest stage in Australian calisthenics in July.

Locals Marley Mayes, 9, and Indiah Roberts, 8, will be heading to Perth to compete in the Australian Calisthenics Foundation (ACF) National Calisthenics Championship.

The two girls will join 22 other dancers on the 2019 South Australian National Calisthenics Team and will be judged on their dance at the highest level in Australia.

They have been travelling down to Adelaide each weekend to train for five hours every Saturday.

Whydale Calisthenics Club Principal Coach Deb Pearce said the girls would be graded on around six to seven routines including marching, free exercises, rod manipulation and graceful dance.

"They will be judged on their precision, they have to do every movement exactly the same at exactly the same time,” she said.

“They also have to learn how to be technically correct – how they stand, how they hold a rod and how high you do or don’t swing your arms. It’s very specific.

“The girls will have to perform with a smile and lifted eyebrows for certain routines.”

Marley and Indi will also be required to perform several ‘tricks’ which require a large degree of flexibility.

Ms Pearce said the duo stood out during their performances in the sub-junior group at the club, which she describes as a ‘very strong team’.

“They all have the ability to head towards this direction,” she said.

A Nationals Fundraising Dinner was held at Wanderers Soccer Club on Friday to ease the financial burden of travel and accommodation for the families.

Fiona Roberts, mother to Indiah, said it was a huge achievement for her to make the team at such a young age.

“Most calisthenics girls dream of being in the national team,” she said. 

Marley’s mother, Ally, said it would be a long six months before the championships in July but it was worth it to see the ‘smiles on their faces’.

Both Ally and Marley said they were ‘very excited’ to be selected for the nationals team, but were sad that two of their friends who tried out of the squad missed out on joining them.

“But we’re still happy we got in,” Indiah said.

The national competition will be held on July 10-13.