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Young Elmira dancer preparing for competition in Germany later this year

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An Elmira dancer is heading to Europe to chassé, pivot and pas de bourree her way to a gold medal.

After auditioning for Team Canada Dance, Lydia Wilson will be heading to Germany as part of the national team for jazz dancing.

It wasn’t her first time auditioning, she says, so the pressure wasn’t too high. She couldn’t have been happier with the results.

“I was ecstatic. The first time I auditioned, I auditioned for the hip hop team. I was on the younger end of the range of dancers, and I was pretty disappointed,” she said. “I kind of expected it because I hadn’t done hip hop dance in a while, but this year, I was smarter and auditioned for my favourite style of dance, jazz, and I got on the team. I was very, very happy.”

Right after her audition, Wilson knew she had made the team.

Lydia Wilson, a student at Elmira’s Park Manor PS, will be heading to Germany to jazz dance with Team Canada this fall.[Liz Bevan / The Observer]
Lydia Wilson, a student at Elmira’s Park Manor PS, will be heading to Germany to jazz dance with Team Canada this fall. [Liz Bevan / The Observer]
“(The judge) kept three of us after and told us right there that she wanted us on the team,” she said.

Now, the training and practicing begins. Wilson doesn’t even know what the routine is going to be at the international competition, taking place in October.

“We have two weeks in August that have pretty long days, and that is when we are learning the routines, and then every Sunday through the fall to get everyone together,” she said, adding that she doesn’t even know which countries her and the team will be competing against, adding a bit of the unknown. “We don’t know yet. I know there are plenty of countries, but I don’t know specifically who is going to be there.”

She is definitely excited to see what other countries are up to in their dance studios, however.

“I am looking forward to seeing what dance means to them and learning from each other, as cheesy as that sounds,” she said with a laugh. “But, it is really interesting to go and experience something that you are so familiar with in a totally new and different way.”

One of Wilson’s favourite things about dancing is having a creative outlet.

“It is just about being able to go on stage and be a different person for a while. It is kind of like acting in that sense. You get into the routine and you can do whatever you want with that dance and it is very empowering,” she shared.

Her friends and family have been supportive of the Grade 8 Park Manor student from the very beginning.

“I don’t think they thought it was feasible for someone from Elmira to be going to Germany for dance, but they are all happy for me and I am lucky to have them,” she said of her friends.

Wilson’s mother, Lynda, says she is proud of her daughter, and will be sending Lydia to Germany on her own to experience Europe and the international competition.

“She is really hard working,” said Lynda. “We put a lot of miles on the car, but it has been great. I think she is ready now for this adventure on her own. It is definitely a strange feeling, sending her there, but she is ready. I think Florida is as far as we have gone before. She started dancing when she was three, so this is years in the making.”

The dancers, including Lydia, will be heading to Wetzler, Germany, just outside of Frankfurt, for the competition on Oct. 23.

For more information visit www.teamcanadadance.com.

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