Competition heats up for Bundaberg's little dancer
AT THE tender age of 3, Bundaberg's Coco Suosaari learnt to switch on her parents' CD player in the kitchen, and she's never looked back.
Almost a decade later Coco's passion for dance has lead her to take out the national title at the Get the Beat dance competition for the second time, winning a prize that will take her half way around the world.
Mother Leela Suosaari said it was the 11 year old's self-motivation that helped her achieve her dreams at a young age.
"She wakes up and spends about an hour stretching and practising before school each day," she said.
"Her dad, Glen, loves his music. He'll listen to it while cooking and I think that where she found her passion."
It's not only passion needed to take out a national championship, it's also dedication.
Training between 15 to 20 hours a week, it's amazing the Year 6 Woongarra State School student, who is also school captain, has time for anything else.
"Every school holidays she is always doing something," Mrs Suosaari said.
"It's really up to her where she will go in life.
"She's self-motivated and as well as dancing, she likes to choreograph dances too."
Coco won Get The Beat Junior National Australian Champion of Champions 2018, against 63 competitors from Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.
Dancers in the competition are judged on technique, stage presence, impact, style and choreography.
Coco's prize for winning the Get the Beat competition is a trip to the US in July where she will join a team of 12 other young dancers from New Zealand and Australia to compete in Las Vegas.
"Everyone wants to the win the prize," Coco's mum said.
"It's just an amazing prize."
Coco said she's been in too many competitions to count them all, but it was her passion that kept her returning time after time.
"I just really love it - they joy it brings me," she told the NewsMail.
"It was overwhelming when I heard I had won, very amazing."
With hopes to get a career in dancing Coco thanked those who supported her now.
"My dance teacher Miss Peta has helped me and this year I've come really far and have improved so much," Coco said.
"I would like to thank my family for being there for me and supporting me."
The US won't be the only international destination for Coco next year - she was invited to dance in the Dream Dance Co. junior performance in Singapore in early June too.
Being able to compete at a national competition can put a strain on any athlete, when asked how the family was able to put so much time aside to follow Coco's dream, her mum replied "we just have to support her when she is doing so well and puts in so much herself".