Six dancers from Chilliwack are getting ready to head to Europe with Team Canada.
They danced up a storm and busted a move in such a way that captivated judges.
Now all six have qualified to represent Canada at the International Dance Organization World Hip Hop Championships in Germany next month.
Team Canada includes these Chilliwack dancers: Alana Cross (Senior); Delaney Hawkes (Senior); Lory Nixon (Senior); Elana D’archangelo (Junior); Emma Donnelly (Junior); and Camryn Jackson-Gola (Junior).
Lory Nixon, 18, expects to be up against stiff competition when she gets on stage at the World Hip Hop Championships.
So what will be the strategy for Team Canada?
“We’re going to kill it!” she says. “We’re going to put everything out there.”
Maintaining trust in her teammates and trust in herself is key.
“The team I am working with is so incredible. We really want it. It’s great to work with a dedicated group of dancers.”
They’ve been warned they could be targets since a solid reputation precedes them. Canada typically is ranked very highly at the Worlds for this genre of dance.
Cross has been training in studio for two years.
“I like everything about hip hop dance,” she says adding she’s done ballet, jazz and tap as well.
It’s her first time competing out of the country.
“I’m excited more than nervous. The whole idea of winning at the worlds would be absolutely incredible.”
Team Canada’s ace choreographer Paul Otterbein has been rehearsing the intricate and powerful choreography with the team, and streamlining their routines before departing for Bochum, Germany.
Fellow team member Delaney Hawkes says it means “everything” to have earned this opportunity.
“I was hoping I’d make the team,” she says. “The audition felt really strong to me.”
Hawkes started competitively dancing at the age of 8.
“It’s my favourite thing to do,” she says.
It helps that she feels “totally inspired” by the sheer talent of her fellow dancers. It can even turn a bad day around just getting out and working on her dance routine.
“You don’t think about anything else when you’re dancing,” Hawkes says.
They practise hard on their own, and also have team practices together every two weeks. They’ll be starting weekend practices by September.
Bonnie Dyer national dance director for Team Canada said the dancers are required to find their own sponsors and raise funds to pay for the European trip, in the absence of a national or government sponsor coming forward.
“Dance is not recognized in Canada as a sporting event, even though many of these dancers train up to seven days a week, they are flexible as any gymnast; graceful as figure skater, and as dedicated as any Olympic athlete. Dancers of this calibre have trained for hours and hours and will represent our country with pride at the world level,” said Dyer.
The IDO is a World Dance and Dancesport Federation with a membership of over 90 nations, representing more than 250,000 dancers, from six continents.
“We hope that you will help support these dancers and the dancers appreciate any support you can give them,” said Dyer.
All of the Chilliwack member of Team Canada will be participating in a ‘Shake-a-Can’ fundraiser at the BC Liquor Store in downtown Chilliwack on Friday, Sept 5, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“If people want to stop by with donations and talk to the dancers, that would be great,” said dance mom Debi Hawkes.
Team Canada leaves for Germany on Sept. 22.