DANCING has been Tyla Hardy's passion ever since she started moving to music at three years old.
"When I'm on stage I feel 100 per cent myself," Tyla, 17, said.
"It's the happiest place on earth for me and has taught me so much that I carry through every area of my life.
"It's taught me discipline, commitment, resilience, how to cooperate with others. It really has been a cornerstone for me throughout my life."
Tyla's decision to study the Higher School Certificate Dance course as an accelerated student in years 10 and 11 has also paid off.
She is one of 12 students from 1000 across the state who have been selected for Callback, the annual showcase of exemplary student performances and compositions.
It is being delivered online.
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"It was a massive privilege to be selected, I felt very honoured and I was very, very grateful," she said.
"I had thought 'What an achievement that would be to be selected for Callback' but it didn't even really seem that possible to me doing it as an accelerated student.
"I thought there must be a million people who are 10 times better than me.
"But hard work pays off and I was very blessed to be selected."
The St Philip's Christian College Waratah year 12 student said she was at a friend's house when she received the email telling her she'd been chosen.
"I did not fully understand, I thought 'This can't be real, maybe they got the wrong name or maybe I'm reading it wrong'," she said.
"But I reread it, called my mum and we were all very excited. It was a very big shock and absolutely surreal."
Tyla said there were four elements to the course: a written appreciation; a core composition that required her to choreograph a piece; a core performance choreographed by her teacher Natalie Baker called Waves; and a major work.
Both Tyla's core performance and major work were nominated for Callback and her three-minute core performance was selected.
She said Waves was inspired by and reflected a piece of music by Mario Epsley.
"The intent of my work was to show the cycle of a wave, including the formation, the currents of the water, the growth of a wave and the crash of a wave," she said.
"So I had to consider how I as a human was going to embody this formation of a wave, which included considering the fluidity of water and how I could move smoothly and transition through movements and positions, but also to create dynamics though high intensity movements to represent the crash of the wave and how I would embody those dynamics."
She said she felt "terrified" performing for the markers.
"I came out thinking I had done the best that I could do and felt like I had given it everything I had to give," she said.
"I could not have done any more and now it was up to the markers to decide whether I had done enough."
Students selected for Callback travelled to Sydney and their performances were filmed - an experience she said was "exhilarating" - to be shared online.
Tyla started at Maxi-Jazz Dance Studio, where she travelled with a group to the United States to perform at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park and Universal Studios.
She moved aged 14 to Ablaze Dance Academy in Adamstown where she has completed her first RAD ballet exams.
Tyla estimates she dances for about 22 hours each week.
She has trained in classical ballet, commercial jazz, commercial heels, Broadway jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, tap, Latin and musical theatre.
She is in the commercial elite performance program, which involves missing two half-days of school, which she makes up for in her own time.
She is also studying for her HSC, completing her Certificate III in assistant dance teaching, and teaches drama at High Street Productions and jazz and acro dance at Ablaze.
Tyla said her goal was to be a commercial dancer.
"An absolute big dream for me would be to go on tour with a world renowned star, like a pop star, and be one of their dancers," she said.
Just to be able to travel while doing what I love and see the world while dancing."
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