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Coast dancers to represent Canada at world championships

International Dance Organization
Standing, left to right: Carly Kennedy, Vienna Klikach, Megan Hebden, Bella Daigle, Megan Doyle. Seated: Ali Girard, Andrea Villanueva, Tessa Rowland, Francesca Manson.

Several local dancers auditioned and have made it to the largest and most prestigious of all dance competitions, the World Dance Championships, this year to be held in Reisa, Germany from Nov. 20 to 25. 

The International Dance Organization has over 250,000 member dancers from six continents. This exciting world championship format is Olympic-style with only one gold, silver and bronze medal presented on the podium while the World Champion’s National Anthem is played as the top three medalists’ flags are raised. 

Fifty of the best young dancers from Western Canada have earned a spot on Team Canada ShowDance West, led by Danielle Gardner, accomplished head choreographer. 

Drawing on her experience as a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance Canada and film appearances on CBC’s Motive and the iconic dance film Centre Stage, the former world champion dancer knows exactly what it takes to motivate, guide and strengthen all the Team Canada competitors to draw out their best qualities and develop their full potential as Canada’s finest dancers. 

Selected to represent Canada from Sechelt are Megan Hebden, Tessa Rowland, Andrea Villanueva, Bella Daigle, Megan Doyle, Ali Girard, Carly Kennedy, Vienna Klikach and Francesca Manson. All the dancers, aged 11 to 13, are from Coast Academy of Dance.

Bonnie Dyer, Team Canada Dance national director, said Canada has been quite successful in all dance disciplines at the World Championships, and this is mainly due to the high standard of training that local studios offer. “It is also great to see the best of the best in Canada who come from various studios all working together as one team with one goal … and that is to represent Canada,” Dyer said. 

The Canadian team’s repeated success is even more impressive considering Canada does not provide any financial assistance to these impressive athletes, whereas most European countries provide extensive support, including grants, scholarships, health insurance, workshops, physiotherapy, etc. Our Team Canada Dance athletes must raise their own funds to train and attend the World Championships in Germany. 

This very determined and talented young group dedicate their spare time to their sport, travelling every Sunday for eleven weeks to train for this incredible opportunity to represent Canada. This year’s amazing team is comprised of dancers from Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mill Bay, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Penticton, Powell River, Quesnel, Richmond, Salmon Arm, Sechelt, Surrey, West Vancouver, Vernon and Lethbridge, Alberta.

Now in her fifth year as head choreographer, Gardner is honoured to be part of Team Canada Show Dance West’s 2017 journey to the championships in Germany. “Being offered the opportunity to bring together amazing dancers from all over Western Canada, who have not danced together, to form them into a team, and then to watch them proudly representing Canada on the world stage is indeed a treasured gift,” Gardner said. 

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