Junior Ambassador Series ♥


Getting to know our Junior Ambassador, India Shackel.

How old are you?

I'm 13 years old. 

What is the story, were you always dancing around the house?

I started Ballet when I was 3 (doing fairy ballet) as yes,  I grew up I was always dancing around the house! I loved doing shows and performing in front of my family, my favourite outfit was always my little white tutu.


india as a baby ballerina!

india as a baby ballerina!

What do you love about ballet? 

I love the fact that in ballet you can never be perfect and there is always something to work on, I love the challenge, and how you get to express yourself in such beautiful movements!

When I dance it makes me feel so happy, the music, the stage lights everything about it. 

What is your dance dream?                                       

My ultimate dance dream is to be accepted into full time training at the New Zealand School of Dance and to dance with the Royal Ballet in London.

Do you have a favourite dancer, what is it about her/him that inspires you?

Two of my favourite ballet dancers would have to be Steven Mcrae and Hannah O’Neill, these two dancers are both such inspirations - they are both so hard working and I hope to be like them one day. It would be such a dream to meet them!

hannah o'neill, paris opera ballet

hannah o'neill, paris opera ballet


What has been your proudest dancing achievement to date?

I can’t decide; I have two!

The first would be when was invited to perform along with three other scholars from the New Zealand school of dance in the 50th anniversary Graduation season, and the second would have to be when I was announced as a quarter finalist in The Alana Haines Australasian Awards in 2017.

What are your dance goals for this year?

This year my goals are to use more upper body and improve overall as a dancer, I am also working hard on my variation for the Alana Haines Australisian Awards next year.

I find the upper body super important. A ballerina is not a ballerina because of the amount of pirouettes she does. It's the fact that she can do all of these incredible moves and make it look so beautiful;  that is one of the hardest parts. I find that having more use of the upper body makes everything much more beautiful, it engages the audience and makes for a more well rounded performance.

What do you like to do outside of dance?

Outside of dance I love spending time outdoors relaxing and doing conditioning/fitness,  I also love spending time in the ocean swimming and doing water sports, and lastly I love reading and cooking.

Do you have a secret talent?!?

One of my secret talents is that I can bake really good cupcakes and I make delicious  smoothies! My family actually call me the "Smoothie Queen!"

Here's one of my favourites;

1 Cup frozen mixed berries

1 banana 

1 tbs honey

1/2 cup milk

1 small tub yoghurt 

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp pumpkin seeds 

1tsp sunflower seeds

1/4 cup coconut water

Blend all together until smooth! Makes two big glasses 💗🙌🏼



What has been your favourite time on stage?

My favourite time on stage would by far have to be when I performed in the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season,  I was in my happy place, Dancing on the stage of the St James Theatre was truly incredible and being surrounded by such inspirations was just incredible.

india at fiona haines dance academy performance, 2017

india at fiona haines dance academy performance, 2017

Do you have a funny moment you can share with us, has anything ever gone wrong?!?

One of my really hilarious moments on stage was when I went onto stage ready to dance and the music started playing, it wasn't my music so I told them that they had played the wrong music and they said, "It's not your turn you're next!"  It was so embarrassing!!

Favourite book? 

My favourite book would by far have to be “Mao’s Last dancer.” It is such an inspiring book it takes you through the highlights and tough times of Li Cunxin's life!. He is truly incredible and it makes you want to work so hard! I also love mystery books!

Favourite quote? 

I have two again! The first one is my own...

“I’m very lucky... not many people have a place where everything floats away, all the worries and fears. The lights shine bright the nerves rush away and then all of a sudden I am in my home my happy place the audience is silent and the music is all to be heard... In my special place I feel unstoppable and then I know that hard work does pay off."

and my other favourite quote would have to be:

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” - Henry Ford.



Thank you India, we look forward to supporting and following your dance journey


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