A dance team made up of 24 dancers (predominantly from the Shelley Shearer School of Dance) from Manitoba and Saskatchewan is crossing back onto Canadian soil Sunday night after winning medals at an international competition overseas.
Members of Team Canada West’s national junior girls squad won four gold medals and one bronze in jazz, modern dance and ballet at the International Dance Organization World Dance Championships in Mikolajki, Poland, last week.
The team is made up of five dancers from Saskatchewan, two from Brandon and 17 from the Shelley Shearer School of Dance in Winnipeg.
“This was the first time for all of them to go overseas and compete against so many different dancers from so many different countries. So that was a wonderful cultural experience, life experience and now a wonderful dance experience for them,” Shearer, the owner of the Winnipeg dance school, told CBC News.
The girls competed against roughly 4,000 dancers from 29 countries across the world, Shearer said.
“Competition can be a daunting experience for even experienced people, and this was a unique opportunity for them to rise to a very high standard and big challenge and they should all be very proud of themselves,” she said.
“They really worked hard as a team to come together and had to be the best to earn these medals.”
Brynne Abgrall won a medal in the modern dance solo category, Shearer said.
“It was very moving, seeing this little 12-year-old up on the gold, first-place podium while they’re playing the national anthem,” she said.
“It’s daunting to get up on a stage in your hometown and perform in front of people or compete in front of people…. Here they were so far away from home, many without a parent even,” she said.
Despite being tired and jet-lagged most of the trip, the girls performed phenomenally and have the hardware to prove it, Shearer added.
The team’s Winnipeg members arrived home at about 8 p.m. Sunday.