Ten-Year-Old Puts Sunday Worship Above Love of Dance

  • 30 December 2011

Riarn curtseys to the audience at the curtain call of her end-of-year performance at which she received her Performer of the Year Award

 AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Ten-year-old Riarn Richards' passion for ballet does not sway her from her commitment, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to attend church on Sunday.

At the Auckland Caledonian Dancing Society 2011 competitions, Riarn's age group was scheduled to compete on Sunday. Rather than take part in her age group's competition on the day that Latter-day Saints and many other Christians regard as holy, Riarn chose to compete against children a year older than her, whose competition was held on Saturday. She achieved 7th place out of 45 competitors.

Riarn recently won the Dianne Wallace School of Dance Performer of the Year Award. The award was based on audience feedback from the end-of-year show and also on the results of ballet competitions competed in during 2011, where she achieved a first placing and a highly commended.

Riarn is the daughter of Emmanuel and Kathleen Richards, formerly of Ngaruawahia. She has been learning ballet for five years and her parents describe Riarn as “absolutely passionate” about it. For the school's end of year show Riarn learnt five routines, several of which were solo performances, receiving generous applause from the audience after each one.

When Riarn was asked: “How do you feel about dancing?” Her reply was: “I enjoy it, it makes me happy and I feel great when I'm dancing.”

Read about Latter-day Saints' beliefs and practices regarding Sunday worship here.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority of the Church and member of the Pacific Area Presidency commends Riarn and her parents: “These are the small and simple things that lead to great things later on in life.”

Latter-day Saints have a strong emphasis on teaching children the commandments of God and teachings of Jesus Christ so they are best equipped to make good choices based on sound principles throughout their lives. One of the Latter-day Saints' scriptures, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, puts it this way: “learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God (Alma 37:35).