One of Dream Academy’s top students Stephanie Hufer, 14, has scored an ambassadorship with Dance Writer Australia, acting as a role model for young dancers who struggle to comprehend their own worth and confidence.
Stefi has been dancing since she was three-years-old and now dances at the Dream Academy in Melbourne’s western suburbs. She was a very reserved student with not much self-confidence. As time went on and opportunities arose to perform, Stefi took on challenges that pushed her out of her comfort zone. At there mere age of nine, she became a competitive dancer in solos, duos, and troupes, which boosted her confidence tremendously. At the age of eleven, she began to choreograph her own solos, and now successfully competes with her self-choreographed solos. As a proud winner of the Dream Academy‘s Recognition award for “Most Outstanding” in 2016, she has gone from strength to strength over the years in her ability to be confident. Her trophies did not stop there though. In the same year, she won first place overall at KAR Competition in the teen category, as well as also taking out first place overall in the teen category at Starpower competition, where both titles were awarded to her for her self-choreographic skills.
Her coach Lauren Jebramek has been by her side for the last five years, providing guidance to Stefi both in and out of the dance studio.
“In that time… I have watched her grow from a shy and timid student to an amazing inspirational dancer that inspires not only other students but myself [too],” Lauren said.
Stefi has seen Lauren as her inspiration for many years, and now even assists in classes alongside her. As Lauren’s assistant teacher, she helps younger dancers improve their technique and dance abilities.
“Her light and energy she brings to the room show how special of a dancer she is. With the support of myself and her other teachers, this light and energy will continue to help her grow stronger,” she said.
However, this light and energy have not been easy for Stefi to find. Before she became a competitive dancer, she could not speak to other students because her her self-esteem was too low to interact.
“I wasn’t confident in myself at all to be able to even talk to other students,” Stefi said.
She persisted for six years, climbing to the top of her dance class and working to strengthen her resilience and dedication. Now, she is also able to call the other students her best friends.
“We all are super supportive of each other, which is what makes us such a strong team.”
Stefi’s ability to freely demonstrate her emotions has turned into a competitive sport. Stefi has grown to love improvisation—a form of self-expressive dance that not many teenagers are confident in performing. This year, she has trod in uncharted territory by entering herself into Improvisation sections in tap, jazz and lyrical at competitions.
“I’ve been quite successful with my improvisation at comps but for me, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter what result I get, as long as I’m happy. Dancing isn’t about the trophies, it’s about the passion you possess for it and the happiness you feel when you dance.”
The confidence Stefi has gained through dancing has led her to become a role model for dancers, actors, and singers. Being this kind of leader is something Stefi is used to because of her younger sister Sophie, who is an exceptional dancer as well. Both of them are proud ambassadors for Dance Writer and are the best of friends.
“I’m really excited to be an ambassador!” said Stefi. “I really believe I can help inspire others and make them become more confident in themselves like I have!”
Being confident in her ability to achieve anything she wishes if hard work is present will ensure a blossoming future for young Stefi.