Three local dancers will be taking their passion for the artform overseas to next summer’s Dance World Cup in Europe, representing Team Canada against 50 other nations and 6,000 performers at a international competition in Braga, Portugal.
Eight-year-old Rachel Dyck from Conestogo, 10-year-old Addison Bechtoldand 9-year-old Rebecca Faerman of Waterloo comprise this hard-working trio, who spend more than 14 hours a week perfecting their choreography at the Waterloo Star Performance Academy.
“At the studio, they’re training four days a week, minimum,” said Kristin Werner, owner and dance educator at Star Performance Academy. “Plus additional practices. They do dance exams; they do competitions, they go to weekend workshops on top of all of that. So they are busy, busy girls. And they still work hard in school. I know they’re going to do great and have an amazing time. It’s going to be life-changing, for sure.”
Their interest in dance took place at a very early age, starting from ages one to three. They train in a variety of disciplines, including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, improv, acro and contemporary.
In addition to their countless hours practicing, they also visit Toronto about once a month to practice the choreography for the 2019 competition, along with other performers on Team Canada. Training for the event does not stop there, however.
“They’re expected when they come home they have to practice daily, weekly,” explained Paula Fletcher, Addison’s mother. “And when they come back in a month, there has to be an improvement to what there was last time. In addition to that, coming in about May, they’re going to ramp their practices as they get closer to the date of the competition.”
Despite the intensity of the training, the trio maintains that it is not an overly competitive atmosphere. All three met each other through dance, and have become close friends since.
“We get to make new friends every time we go to a competition,” said the girls. “It’ll be really fun to see different parts of the world and meet more people from different countries and represent Canada. It’s really cool to have that opportunity.”
Qualifying for the Dance World Cup required the trio to audition. The girls auditioned individually back in June in Milton and were each selected through that process. The process differs slightly from country to country; for example, the team representing Ukraine was just selected last week, and the New Zealand team was chosen around Halloween. There will be about 150 dancers representing Team Canada.
“The girls have a lot of drive,” said Fletcher. “If they didn’t want to be doing this, we certainly wouldn’t be pushing them. This is something they want to do. We’d rather they pursue their passions, and that is what this is for them.”
World Performers Canada offers dancers from across the province the opportunity to experience different cultures and take their passion to a world stage.
The competition will be held in Braga, Portugal from June 28 to July 8 in 2019. The trio is looking for donations in order to cover the cost of the training and travel costs, which are estimated at $24,000. They welcome contributions at their GoFundMe page.