In November, tap dancer Adrian Eitzen will lace up his tap dancing shoes and take to the stage, but instead of dancing for his instructors at Elmira’s Encore Dance Studio, he will be tapping in front of an international audience at the World Dance Championships.
Auditions for the Canadian National Dance Team attracted some of the best dancers from across Canada on Easter Monday, with more than 300 participants competing for positions on the team to represent Canada at the world level. After an audition that lasted for more than three hours, Adrian was one of 24 dancers chosen to form the Canadian dance team.
In the fall, he and his teammates will travel to Germany to compete as a group, an undertaking which Eitzen finds to be more challenging than performing alone.
“Getting everyone to be doing the same step at the same time can be difficult,” he explained. “I am sure that we will be able to do it, but it will be tough.”
Eitzen has danced under the direction of Deanna Clatworthy at Encore Dance Studios in Elmira for the past 10 years, putting on his dancing shoes for the first time when he was only four years old.
He has two older sisters, both of whom have had extensive dance training. One is working in Toronto as a dance and drama teacher for young children, and both auditioned last year for the TV show ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada.’ Before trying it for himself, Eitzen travelled back and forth to drop off and pick up his sisters at their practices when he was young.
“I used to go and watch them at the studio, and after a while I thought ‘this is something I could try.’”
The dancer, who lives in Guelph but studies in Elmira, is not only trained in tap dance but is skilled at a variety of other types, including jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop and musical theatre. He said that one day he might like to try out for the TV show, but currently he is three years too young.
He did however, get to spend the afternoon with Everett Smith, one of the finalists from the past season of So You Think You Can Dance, the choreographer who organized the dancers and taught the group of nervous applicants last month.
“It was a really fun atmosphere dancing with him (Smith),” said Eitzen. “It was competitive, but that’s what makes it fun.”
Currently, he practices dance for about eight hours per week at Encore. Alongside the competition aspect, Eitzen said he gets a thrill simply from being on the dance floor and tap dancing in particular.
“I like making music with my feet,” he said with a smile. “It’s a challenge and it’s a really creative way to express yourself.”
The World Dance Championships is the only official dance championship under the umbrella of the World Dance Council. Team Canada leaves for Germany Nov. 30, returning Dec. 6.