A Lacombe teen is one of several accomplished central Albertans gearing up for an international competition coming up in DePanne, Belgium this November.
Several dancers auditioned and have been accepted to be a part of the largest and most prestigious dance team in all of Canada, Team Canada Dance, which will attend the IDO (International Dance Organization) Jazz, Ballet, and Modern/Contemporary Championships in DePanne, Belgium, from Nov. 27 – Dec. 3.
This exciting world championship is considered the ‘Olympics of Dance’, with only one gold, silver, and bronze medal awarded for each division, said Christa Prins, mom to Mika, a Grade 10 student from Lacombe who has been selected for the team.
For her part, Mika has been dancing since she was just four years old.
“She started her dance journey right here in Lacombe at Rosedale Dance Studio with the wonderful Miss Melanie and Miss Arlene as a mini dancer, and continued on as a junior dancer at Dancers Edge studios with Miss Heather in Lacombe,” said Christa.
“She currently dances at CDX studio in Red Deer for around 14 to 16 hours a week.”
Christa recalls that from a very young age, Mika was always dancing.
“I think what is really special for me is when I see her perform. She performs not only physically, but also from her heart,” she explained. ”She really dances with her soul.”
Mika will be competing in five groups including two ballet groups, two contemporary groups as well and one jazz formation group.
“I’ve been dancing ever since I was four, and I have always had a passion for it,” explained Mika. “I’ve always loved going into the studio, being with my friends there, and being able to express myself.
“My favourite style is definitely contemporary. I love it because you get to be creative and very individual in your style. You can really explore your own individuality.
“This year, I’m also doing a lot of ballet, jazz, contemporary, and acro,” she added.
“I’m so inspired by everyone on my team. I think they are all amazing, and I feel like we have a special bond, even though I came into the team not knowing anyone,” she said. “We are all really close now.
“I’m excited to be traveling with all of these people who I look up to. I’m also excited for the little experiences, like being backstage, and in the rehearsal hall. I’m really excited to be spending this time with these people.”
Rounding out the other local dancers are Kaitlyn Worr of Sylvan Lake, and Red Deer’s Hazel Stapley, Alexane Best, Eva Best, and Kaitlyn Rumohr. They’ve also been involved in various fundraisers to help cover the costs of the coming journey.
Ultimately, heading to Belgium will be an exciting venture for the Prins family.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them as a team, carrying the Canadian flag, and to just being there as a supporter,” said Christa, adding it’s been amazing to see the connections that Mika is building with the other dancers and the choreographers.
“It’s been great to see how different dancers from central Alberta have come together to form this team,” she said. “I am so proud. Mika works so hard, and she is so dedicated. She never complains if she has to dance over a weekend or a holiday. I’m really, really proud that she just put herself out there in the beginning to even go for the auditions.”
Dancers will compete in elimination rounds until the top six square off one last time for the gold, silver, and bronze awards.
The IDO consists of more than 90 member and contact nations, representing more than 500,000 dancers from six continents.
Bonnie Dyer, national director of Team Canada Dance, noted that, “Canada has been quite successful in all dance disciplines at the world championships and this is mainly due to the high standards of training that our local studios offer.
“It is also great to see the ‘best of the best’ in Canada, dancers from various studios, towns, and provinces coming together onto one team with one goal – to represent Canada.”
For more on Team Canada Dance, or on how to support the local dancers, visit www.teamcanadadance.ca.