Three cottage-country dancers are representing Canada this week in a competition that tests their tap dancing against rivals from around the world.
TAPPING FOR CANADA..
Bridgit Haines (left), Kiana Sawyer (centre) of Parry Sound is representing Canada with Gravenhurst dancer Kaylin Matchett at the International Dance Organization's World Tap Dance Championships this week in Riesa, Germany. (Photo by Louis Tam)
Kaylin Matchett of Gravenhurst is competing today with fellow tap dancers Bridgit Haines and Kiana Sawyer of Parry Sound at the International Dance Organization’s World Tap Dance Championships in Riesa, Germany. The competition runs from Dec. 4 to 8, and features hundreds of dancers from 20 countries.
“It’s like the Olympics for tap,” said Haines.
In the weeks prior, the trio had been training hard at the Just 4 Kicks dance school in Gravenhurst to prepare for their big show. While Matchett is a returning face to the competition, the experience will be a first for her two fellow dancers.
The three had to take part in competitive auditions to make the national team. Last year, Matchett got a spot in the competition after she was accepted as an alternate, and went on to win a silver medal. This year, however, she is aiming for an even more spectacular performance.
“It was a good experience for me,” she said. “It was cool to see the stage and see the many countries that were there.”
Matchett said the experience was also a chance to meet her counterparts from elsewhere in the world, and to share bits and pieces of their culture with one another.
“We traded Canadian pins for pins with other countries on them,” said Matchett, who returned with pins from countries including Russia and Germany.
With the experience under her belt, Matchett shared some words of advice with her fellow dancers last week before the competition began.
“Don’t talk during the teaching,” she said. “You keep your chin up high and keep your enthusiasm, and keep going. Don’t doubt yourself.”
As a first-time competitor in the event, Haines is pumped at the prospect of competing in the world-class championship.
“It’s an opportunity to represent our countries and our hometowns,” she said.
Her mother, Anne, says she has high hopes for the trio’s odds in the competition.
“I think they’re doing phenomenal as a group, and I’m very proud,” she said, and added, “It would be remiss not to think of the support from (studio owner) Wendy Laidlaw and the studio.”