Plenty of people have a passion for something, but few have the relationship that 14-year-old Queanbeyan girl Hannah Kilpatrick-Ware has with dance.
Hannah was recently awarded a Variety Heart Scholarship for $5000 to help assist with her tuition and competition fees and to help her complete a Certificate III in dance.
Hannah was born Hamish but eventually she identified as transgender and has since lived as a girl, what she’s always known was the correct choice for her.
From a young age Hannah was obsessed with dance and it eventually became a way for her to express herself and to help her cope with the process of transitioning from a boy to a girl.
“Dance has been in my soul since I was two,” Hannah said. “Anytime music came on I would start dancing.”
Hannah’s mother Louise Kilpatrick recalls a time when Hannah had to stop dancing because the family could not afford lessons and she said her mental health suffered terribly.
“Dance was just such a relief for her,” Ms Kilpatrick said.
She said in her first performance at age four Hannah, still Hamish at the time, suffered “tutu-envy”.
Ms Kilpatrick said the scholarship took into account factors such as socioeconomic status and disability and were to help young people develop their talent.
Two of Hannah’s brothers have special needs and Ms Kilpatrick said having the scholarship dedicated to Hannah’s dance “meant the world” to their family.
“With the Certificate III Hannah can give back to the dancing world,” Ms Kilpatrick said. “She loves helping the younger students.”
Not only does Hannah love dancing but she’s very good at it, having amassed over 60 trophies dancing out of the Bom Funk Dance Studio in Jerrabomberra.
This year Hannah will perform a dance she has choreographed herself that explores her feelings about transitioning and celebrates finding herself as a young woman.
Hannah said she was nervous as a lot of her friends still did not know she was born a boy and worried how they might react, but she said she knew it was time to do it.