Arts & Life
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This article was published 24/11/2018 (595 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg-based team of 24 will take their dancing dreams to a world championship competition in Poland later this month.
The dancers, who range in age from 13 to 17, will be vying for medals in jazz, ballet and modern-dance disciplines against competitors representing 55 other countries at the World Dance Championships in Rawa Mazowiecka, Poland, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 12.
The event is run by the International Dance Organization, the group behind Dancesport, which is one of many sports organizations attempting to gain official sport status by the International Olympic Committee.
"They’re really well-rounded dancers, they also train in tap and hip hop," says choreographer Angèle Lavergne, who says most of the team have been dancing since they were very young and have trained 15 to 20 hours per week in preparation for auditions to make the team and, now, the world championships.
Each discipline includes solo, duet, trio, groups of seven and formation events that can include the entire team of 24. The solo and duet competitors perform routines around two minutes long, but when more dancers are added, the longer the routines get. A 24-member formation dance can take four minutes to perform, Lavergne says.
"It seems like it’s short, but when you’re dancing full out, it feels like you’ve been dancing for 10 minutes," she says.
A panel of 12 judges ranks the routines, Lavergne says, and in some of the events, there are dozens of dancers vying for the podium. That means coaches have to manage the team’s expectations, and to focus on performing their best instead of worrying about results.
"If you dancing in a group of 50 and you finish in, say, the top six, that would be great," Lavergne says.
Lavergne, who is also a teacher at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, does some of the choreography, but she’s joined by Stephanie Rutherford, a University of Winnipeg grad, and Breanna Willis, who is also a professional performer in theatre and has choreographed on television. Not only do they have to create all the different routines in each of the disciplines, they have to tailor them to each dancer’s strengths, which can add greater complexity.
"That is the challenge for the choreographer," Lavergne says. "You make choices and you hope that they enjoy the performance."
Canada is sending three teams to Poland. The Winnipeg-based one represents Central Canada and includes 16 dancers from Winnipeg, five from Brandon and three from Regina.
The Winnipeg dancers are: Demetrios Apostolopoulous, Lily Bollegraf, Sage Cournoyer, Alexandre Deakin, Kennedy Fontaine, Cayla Gauthier, Kaitlyn Gylywoychuk, Megan Gylywoychuk, Soleil Kunzig, Kristina Lavergne, Alyssa Martin, Alexa Moist, Ainsley Niblock, Melodie Suganami, Anakaren Lopez Sandoval and Damien Lavergne.
They join Brandon dancers Brooklyn Adams, Kaitlyn Bacon, Kennedy Crane, Sienna Denys Peters and Sydney Huston and Regina’s Isaac Kuntz, Lexi Stockbrugger and Kayla Weir.
Arts and Life Editor
Alan Small was named the editor of the Free Press Arts and Life section in January 2013 after almost 15 years at the paper in a variety of editing roles.
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Updated on Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 9:45 AM CST: Name fixed.