When Lauren Babcock Rimore went to the Team Canada dance auditions in Mississauga, she wasn’t sure she’d make the cut.
While the 16-year-old Sudbury resident has danced since she was three, the auditions were intimidating and few dancers are ever chosen from Northern Ontario.
“The audition, I treated it like a dance camp … It was extremely intense. I was pouring buckets of sweat. You were constantly moving. You had to learn choreography very quickly,” she said.
So when she found out she would represent Canada in modern dance at the Official World Dance Championships in Poland, she was surprised.
“But I was thrilled,” she said. Babcock-Rimore was one of four dancers from Sudbury chosen to represent Canada at the competition, which starts Dec. 5 and is hosted by Germany and Poland. Other dancers include Taryn Leach, 17, who made the team but won’t participate due to school work, Michelle Valliant and Aglaia Florentis, 15, who made the jazz, ballet and modern dance team, but will only perform in the third category.
For Florentis, getting into the competition was a shock.
“The audition was really nerve wracking. I was all alone. I was really nervous,” she said. “When I found out I got in, I was really excited. I didn’t think I’d get in. I think if I do this now, then things can only get better.”
To Babcock-Rimore, dancing is more than just an art. It’s a release.
“I started dancing when I was 3. I love it. It was something I was interested in from a young age,” she said. “I love expressing myself in different ways. If you have a rough day, you lose yourself in the movements,” she said.
The dancers, all from Ida Sauve Dance Evolution Studio, will be one of around 45 to 50 people representing Canada in the weeklong competition.
Ali Loney, the owner of Ida Sauve studio, sees this as a chance to put Northern Ontario dancers on the international map.
“It’s a really great achievement not only for our students, but also for Northern Ontario. They’re the first Northern Ontario dancers to go,” she said. “Being from Northern Ontario, we don’t get as many options.”
Right now, the girls train seven days a week, five in Sudbury and two with Team Canada in London or Mississauga. As part of the competition, the dancers will meet professionals like Blake McGrath, who danced in America’s So You Think You Can Dance and will work as a choreographer for the team.
During a press conference held at the dance studio Wednesday, outgoing Mayor John Rodriguez offered his support to the dancers.
“One of the (reasons) that I was so proud to be the mayor of this city is the talent in this city,” he said. “You are going to do so well that you’ll put Sudbury on the international dance map. I have every confidence you’ll pull it off.”
By Rita Poliakov, The Sudbury Star