Previous Winners

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2014/2015 Tristan Wrong

I don't love dance... I'm in love with dance, it is my escape from everything. When I dance all I hear is the music, all I can see is myself in the mirror and homework, tests, drama, they all drift away. When I dance it makes me feel like there is nothing in the world that can bring me down and it's so rewarding when I finally accomplish a goal I set for myself, it makes feel amazing. I am a competitive dancer and assistant teacher at iDance studio. I started dancing when I was seven, even though most people usually start when they are about three, but I didn't care I danced because I loved it and I feel that it gave me more of an appreciation for dance at that age then I probably would have if I started much earlier. My second year dancing I was asked to join the competitive jazz group and of course I said yes.  Throughout the years I have kept improving but last year I think I improved the most. I went to four intensive camps, and one of them was at the national ballet, on top of many, many private lessons. I improved so much that I received my first solo! I cryed, screamed, jumped and ran around my house. My solo won 2nd overalls at my first competition, I also received a special award and my trio won two overall. I guess you could say I had my first shining moment and I can't wait until this competition season! My biggest achievement in dance would be receiving my "Edge Of Glory" special award. It was a huge honour because the judges picked my solo out of many. She told me so many amazing things about how I dance and that I am on the edge to being an amazing dancer. These simple words made me improve monumentally over the summer. With the amount of drive I had my dance started loving me as much as I love it. I feel that a dance is like a child, it is yours, not like anyone else`s and it grows into something beautiful. It starts out small and before you know it, it`s nothing like you`d ever imagine it would be. Finally, my dance is really personal, so when I improv, my moves tell a story from my heart that cannot be expressed in words. I dance for myself to make me happy, not anyone else. Dance is the only place that there is never a wrong answer.

From Tristan's Teacher

Tristan has been a dancer at iDance since its inception over 6 years ago. Ever since walking through our studio doors she has been a sweet, caring, young lady who has grown to love dance. Tristan is very focused and dedicated on matering her dance skills. She is constantly in the studio for workshops, private lessons, intensives camps, and heading off to dance conventions and competitions along with her regular line up at iDance. She absolutley loves it all and show great commitment in doing so. Most recently Tristan passed her first Candian Dance Teachers Association Primary Jazz Exam and is eager to go on to the next level. Along with taking dance classes at iDance, Tristan has started as a Student Teacher in the recreational program and during the summer at our camps. She has made many connections with younger dancers with her friendly personality and positive attitude. A true role model that many dancers look up to, which is why I recommed Tristan for the Shining Star Scholarship.

- Rhonda Dimma, iDance Studio

 

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2013 Alexis Archibald

I started dancing at age 4 and instantly knew it was for me. I actively take many classes every week including Irish dance, tap, ballet, jazz, and lyrical - both in groups and solos, totaling 18 hours a week. I attend both dance classes  and a dance camp in the summer. I regularly compete in dance competitions locally and internationally for a variety of dances and have received many awards.  My greatest accomplishment was winning two firsts in a Florida feis in October 2012 which allowed me to move into the Championship level. Why do I love dance? Dance is my life; I live and breath it. My second home is my dance studio and as I walk down the stairs every night my worries vanish. I feel a warm, happy feeling overtake my body. It keeps me fit and busy, it keeps me working towards my goals. My peers are more then just friends, they are like family. I love to be on stage whether in a group or by myself. Entertaining is in my blood and I love to make not only myself happy but my spectators as well.

From Alexis's Dance Teacher

I am one of Alexis' dance teachers, and want to tell you what an amazing young lady she is! Alexis has had a few injury setbacks this year, but attended all of her classes faithfully in order to "keep her head in the game" and continue to learn, albeit on the sidelines. In one of those classes I asked each dancer in the class why they danced. Most of them said "because I like it" but Alexis said "because it is who I am". I cannot tell you how much of an impression that made on me. I knew Alexis loved to dance, but had no idea how strongly she felt about it. Alexis is one of those dancers that works hard in class ALL the time, not just when someone is paying attention to her. Her work ethic is beyond reproach, and has clear goals to become a better dancer. Alexis is a lovely, soft spoken young lady, who is always polite and always ready to dance.

- Joanne Vanderloo, Irish Dance Studio

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2012 Matt Sabourin

I have been dancing since I was 7 years old, my mom tells me I always liked to dance and I always loved music. I remember asking for dance lessons when I was 4 years old after I saw my sister perform at recital. My mom told me to try other sports, so I tried soccer and swimming which I still like but when I was 7 I asked again and this time I showed her some of the dance moves I had learned watching YouTube. My mom agreed to let me try a class. I wanted to take hip hop but there weren't any classes for my age so instead I tried ballet. I was nervous on my first day because the class had already been running for 3 weeks and I didn't think I was as good as the other students but I LOVED IT! That year my teacher asked me if I would like to move up to a higher class and train for a ballet level 2 exam. I wanted to see if I could pass and I did, I was so happy. I don't mind that I am the only boy in the class but I wish more boys would try it. It really is fun and great exercise. My biggest dance achievements so far are dancing in The National Ballet's Nutcracker as a mouse at Christmas last year and auditioning and getting accepted into the National Ballet Schools associates program where I get to dance in an all boys class. I love dance because I love to challenge myself to see how much I can do. This year I took classes in ballet, acro and tap. I passed my level 4 exam in my second year dancing and I am proud of my accomplishments. This summer I am taking an intensive class where I do ballet, acro and jazz and I am going to do a ballet intensive camp for 3 weeks at the Victoria Ballet, I am so excited!

From His Teacher
It's not very often you come across a child who is born to dance. It's even more rare to find it in a boy, but that is Matt. He is a dancer through and through. Although his first love is for ballet, he moves seamlessly from style to style displaying a talent and a passion for everything he experiences. Whether it's taking on an advanced level acro class or performing his first tap solo Matt always give it his all. This past year Matt has been training in the National Ballet School's associate program. I have enjoyed seeing Matt grow as a dancer as a result. Matt also completed his level 4 Society of Russian Ballet exam with commended. Not only is Matt a committed dancer, he's also friendly and good-natured. I'm continually impressed by the way he carries himself with confidence and maturity beyond a boy of 9 years. I'm very excited to see what the future holds for Matt. I know he will excel in whatever life throws his way.

- Alex Farr Barrie School of Dance

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2011 Mia Miranda

I’ve been dancing since I was 2 and a half years old starting in the Kinder dance program then continuing to the next levels in Ballet, and Acro/Jazz. I really liked the jumping and spinning in Ballet and the cartwheels and bridges in Acro. As I’ve continued in my dance, Barre work has become my favourite. This year I am going to be doing competition classes! My greatest achievement was when I was asked to be the little dreamer in the older girls dance for the recital. My teacher said I was the first little girl she thought of for the part! I love dance because it is fun. I get to do freeze dances and cartwheels and whatever I like. Dancing makes me proud of myself and I feel like I can do anything. All I do is think about dance. I’d like this scholarship because one day I want to go to the National Ballet of Canada.

From Mia’s Teacher
Sometimes you can just tell when a child was meant to dance. This is the case with Mia. Even as a young dancer, she understands the importance of Ballet. She has already successfully completed her Primary and Level 1 ballet exams with Highly Commended. Her Acro skills have progressed immensely over the past year as well. Mia loves to perform and was ecstatic when she was invited to play a vital role in one of the senior numbers in the year end recital. Despite the rehearsals that were past her bedtime, she came with a smile and eagerly participated in all aspects of the warm-up and rehearsal. Mia will be competing for the first time next year with the Junior Intensive Training Program. I am looking forward to see her grow in dance as she certainly was “born to be”. So You Think You Can Dance Canada 2023 look out!

- Hilary Burrell, Bradford School of Dance

 

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2010 Shalena Degano 

I began doing ballet when I was three. At six years old I started doing tap. At seven years I picked up modern and jazz. For the last six years I have danced at Simcoe Dance Academy. I have been on the competition team for two years now. I am hoping to be on next years team as well. I have just completed my RAD Intermediate Foundation ballet exam. I have also completed Grade 6 ISTD modern, Grade 3 CDTA jazz and ISTD Bronze Medal tap. I believe my greatest achievement in dance was to attend the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Summer School last year. It was a fantastic experience. I was accepted to the full time program but wasn't ready to leave home. I was also lucky enough to be part of Ballet Jorgen's production of the Nutcracker. I love to dance because it allows me to express myself. When I dance I can be anyone I want to be. Dancing is like breathing! I have been two weeks without dance, I am really looking forward to my dance classes that start next week.

From Shalena's Dance Teacher
Shalena has been a student at our academy for a number of years and has an incredible amount of talent. Shalena attends class at the studio ten hours per week and puts her heart and soul into every class. Shalena takes ballet, tap, jazz and modern as well as being an assistant with a couple of the younger classes and being part of the competition team. Shalena recently passed her RAD Intermediate Foundations ballet exam as well as exams in all of her other disciplines. Shalena attended the Royal Winnipeg Summer School last year and was accepted into the full time programme but decided it was a bit too far from home. Shalena has the ability and drive to do whatever she would like in the dance world, whether it be teach or perform, she will make it happen. Shalena doesn't know what the word "can't" means and it is obvious from her progress that she pushes herself to the limit every chance she can. Shalena thrives on corrections, always wanting to know what was wrong so that she can fix it and never too concerned to hear what was right, because to her she doesn't need the praise, she needs to know how to be better. She is a rare find in a child of not quite twelve. Shalena is well deserving of a scholorship for dance as she will make it big one day, I am sure.

- Sheila Vecchiarelli, Simcoe Dance Academy

 

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2009 Caitlin Gamna

My name is Caitlin Gamna. I am 9 years old and have been dancing since I was 3 years old. I started dance by trying ballet and jazz. I loved them both instantly! At my first recital I was a bit nervous, but after a few tears back stage before going on, and then performing to the audience, I couldn't imagine doing anything else now! After that recital, and seeing all the older girls doing so many different dances, all I wanted to do was to try all those different styles of dance and do as much as I could! It has taken me a few years but last year I was asked to be on a competitive jazz team and a competitive tap team. This past dance year I performed in many competitive dances such as acro, jazz, ballet, tap, and musical theatre and plan on adding a few more for next year! My Mom always asks me "which one is my favourite" but I can never tell her just one. I love all of them.

This year we won 3 overall awards for our acro, jazz, and musical theatre groups. I think that this has helped me a lot this year. Last summer I was diagnosed with dyslexia, and I was extremely sad but realized that if I worked hard, I could improve and hopefully beat my little problem. So far this year it has worked. I am achieving good grades at school and my reading has improved. Dance has taught me that if I work hard at something, and practice a lot and keep trying, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I hope to become a dance teacher when I grow up and help girls like me, find their love of dance. My greatest achievement in dance so far is a tough one. I think it would have to be after a lot of hard work, being able to land my aerial at the age of 8.Two years ago I could hardly even do a cartwheel. I love everything about dance. I love the friendships I've made with the students, their parents, and my teachers. The best part of dance is making life long friends. I think I would be a great person to be awarded the scholarship because I love to dance and I want to improve myself as a person and my dance techniques.