At 12, most of us could say we had danced in performances we’d made our parents watch at home on a makeshift stage or stood at the back of the school production as a ‘tree’. That’s not quite the case for Mia Herring and Emma Walkington.
On Sunday, March 8, they both had the chance to perform with Katy Perry at the Women’s T20 World Cup Final. The dancers from Patricia Ann School of Dance in Mornington were among 300 girls from across Victoria aged between 12 and 16 who joined the international pop sensation to celebrate International Women’s Day in front of 87,000 spectators.
Mia was beyond excited to get the opportunity to be a part of this when the call went out for dancers. She jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t want to perform alongside the US singer, songwriter, and television judge? With assistance from mum Jane Herring, an application was submitted. It included photographs, examples of Mia’s dance experience including her repertoire of dance styles, and where she attended dance school. It was a dream come true for Mia, who had begun dancing at the age of three – or rather ‘bopping’ around the house.
Throughout rehearsals Mia and Emma become fast friends and bonded over the experience. It was during the final rehearsal before they performed at the MCG that Mia’s nerves well and truly set in.
“During the rehearsal I fell over,” she says. “It was a tricky part at the end of the dance. You had to dance backwards while opening a pink hand banner. So, during the live performance on Sunday, I was so relieved I hadn’t fallen over!”
As Katy Perry fans, the concert was a huge thrill for both girls, and Mia says the atmosphere was phenomenal. “It’s the biggest and most significant thing to happen to me. I’m even more inspired to keep dancing. I’ve got competitions next month in a troupe team and I’m pumped. My dance styles include jazz, acrobatics, lyrical, ballet, tap, as well as neo classical ballet.”
Jane was so proud to have her daughter on stage in front of the huge crowd. The quality of the cricket, the skill of the dancers, the music and spectacular fireworks, the roar of the spectators when the players hit fours and sixes, and Katy’s killer performance all made for a night to remember.
“We absolutely loved watching the cricket too,” Jane says. “It was empowering. For Mia and Emma, it’s become the norm to see women playing cricket, but in reality it was a pivotal moment of girl power for all. The event was electric; it was just as exciting as an AFL Grand Final.”