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Just gotta dance

Kira McDermid would like to teach the world to dance. Hoping to one day open her own dance studio, she’s taking her first steps in that direction by starting a dance camp in Wellesley.

“I’ve had a really good experience with dance, and I want to share that with children in the community,” McDermid said.

McDermid, 17, has been dancing since she was eight at the Carousel Dance Centre in Waterloo. She started with one class a week and now takes as many classes as she can fit into her schedule, in ballet, modern jazz and pointe. During the school year, she dances for 13 hours a week, spending most of her evenings and all day Saturday at the studio.

Having received a business startup grant, Kira McDermid hopes to share her passion for dancing with young children at her Barefoot Dance Camp in Wellesley.

A member of Carousel’s travelling company, McDermid performs all over Ontario, and dance has taken her as far as New York City and the Netherlands. As much as she loves performing, McDermid is cognizant of the fact that very few dancers are able to make a career of it. Her dream is to open her own studio and share her love of dance by teaching.

“This is what I’ve wanted to do since Grade 9,” she said.

McDermid has some teaching experience under her belt already, having worked at Carousel’s dance camp and spending last summer working at a gymnastics camp in Montreal. She has also supply taught and assisted with classes at the studio.

The Barefoot Dance Camp is open to children aged five to 10 who want to try dance. The camp will be held in the Wellesley Community Centre starting the week of July 26 to 30. At this point, McDermid has enough interest to offer classes for two more weeks in August, and she’s hoping to attract enough participants for three or four weeks.

McDermid, who is going into Grade 12 at Waterloo-Oxford District Secondary School, got a $1,500 startup grant from Ontario’s Summer Company program, which helps youth ages 15 to 29 start their own businesses. The funding is going toward paying an employee, Amy Sproule, and purchasing some craft supplies and toys for the times when the children aren’t dancing. McDermid gets to keep the money she brings in, and there is the possibility of receiving another $1,500 upon successful completion of the camp.

McDermid will be running morning and afternoon sessions at the community centre. The cost of the camp is $60 per week for half days and $80 for full days. McDermid is keeping fees low in order to make the camp available to as many people as possible. Ideally, she’s hoping for about eight students per session.

Students will learn skips, hops and gallops as well as basic ballet terminology. McDermid aims to make the learning process creative and interesting and maintain a summer camp atmosphere. To that end, she has consulted her own teachers for ideas and input.

So far only girls have registered for the camp but boys are welcome too, McDermid said. Dance is a great activity to get kids moving and give them something to do.

“There aren’t that many activities for children [in Wellesley], especially in the summer,” she noted.

For more information, contact McDermid at 519-656-3212 or email kiramcdermid@live.ca.

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