Three Norfolk County dancers are in Germany this week to represent Canada at the IDO World Tap Championships.
The girls — 14-year-old Jessica Kennedy, 13-year-old Kaitlyn Malo, and 11-year-old Abby Hare — are competing from Nov. 26 to 30.
The trio trains at Lisa Naves Dance Company in Simcoe on weekdays and travels to Mississauga to rehearse with the rest of the team on weekends. All three have attended Naves’ company since they were about three years of age.
The group is comprised of dancers from Ontario and Alberta. Naves said this is a great chance for the dancers to get to work alongside others that they might often compete against during their regular competitive seasons.
The International Dance Organization has more than 250,000 members from six continents. The world championships are considered the ‘Olympics of Dance’.
“I’m excited to see all of the teams come together,” said Kennedy. “When all of the teams walk out the national anthems will play, that’s going to be really cool.”
The girls auditioned for Team Canada in Toronto. After a week of rehearsals in the city, the girls were told which groups they would be dancing with. Kennedy and Malo are on the junior level team and Hare will be on the children’s team.
While they are competing in tap the girls each participate in other forms of dance including ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and lyrical.
“It takes a lot of hard work, it’s a lot harder than people think it is,” Kennedy said about competitive dance. “It takes a lot of effort, time, and commitment.”
The girls were excited for the trip and the competition.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Germany because I’ve never been out of North America,” said Hare in an interview prior to her departure. “I think it’ll be fun to go with my family.”
Malo said she was excited to travel across the world with a group of her close friends.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” is how Malo described dancing on stage in front of an audience.
Naves explained that tap is the only type of dance where you are your own instrument, with your feet making the sounds as you move.
“Tap is probably one of the most challenging and exciting types of dance,” said Naves. “To get kids who understand, appreciate, and love tap the way that I do is amazing.”
“I’m very proud of them and I think it’s a great opportunity for them,” said Naves.