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From June 24 to July 2, World Performers Canada’s National Dance Team is competing in the Dance World Cup finals in San Sebastian, Spain.
Regarded by many as the Olympics of dance, the Dance World Cup is the largest international all-genre dance competition in the world. The finals are held in a different country each year and about 6,000 dancers from 62 countries attend. The 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled, so the current competition is the first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s National Dance Team is made up of 40 dancers between the ages of nine and 22. The dancers have been rehearsing periodically since Thanksgiving of last year, unsure if the Dance World Cup finals would go ahead and if international travel would be allowed. Now, about eight months later, the team has touched down in San Sebastian and the nine-day competition is well underway.
“It was very challenging, but these dancers persevered through everything – through the pandemic, rehearsing in a parking lot, and finally … now they’re literally at the finish line to be dancing on the world stage in Spain,” said Jacques Monfiston, co-director of World Performers Canada.
Co-directors Monfiston and Nicole Garland created World Performers Canada five years ago to give Canadian dancers the opportunity to represent their country on the world stage while also getting the full experience of travelling to another country. Each trip to the Dance World Cup finals includes excursions and cultural experiences unique to the country being visited.
For dancers who are selected, being part of the National Dance Team is an additional commitment on top of their regular training at their home studio. Because the dancers are usually busy with their home studio training, and because the team unites dancers from across the country, rehearsals are held in a condensed format about five to seven times throughout each season – generally on statutory holiday long weekends. Despite this, each year the team competes with many routines across six categories: jazz, tap, ballet, acro, contemporary and hip hop.
Auditions for next year’s National Dance Team have already begun: the St. John’s and Toronto auditions were both full. Next up are auditions in Oshawa and Mississauga on July 9and 10, respectively, as well as a West Coast audition that has yet to be scheduled.
“Dance is back,” said Monfiston. “I think people are excited and they are excited to embark on a journey to represent their country.”
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