Near North District School Board (NNDSB) Student Trustee Cecilia Darling has been dancing since the age of three and will soon have the opportunity to exhibit her talent on the world stage.
Darling will represent Canada this week as part of the national team at the World Dance Championship in Slovenia.
Darling said she was shocked when she learned she was selected for the national team, having entered the tryouts just for fun and experience.
“I decided to try out for the team because I thought that it was an exciting opportunity to explore dance at the international level and be able to perform in a whole new setting,” Darling said. “When I heard I was on the team, I had the realization that my dance journey was being expanded in a way that I hadn’t thought possible, and I was very excited about the experience to come.”
Darling is not new to high-level competition. As a member of the competitive team at BTS Corp. in North Bay, she competes regionally multiple times a year and has had the opportunity to compete nationally three times.
“Initially, I was put into dance when I was three years old by my parents, but it was my love of movement, music and performing that truly started me on this dance journey,” Darling said. “I love performing and always having a goal to work towards, whether it be a technique in a class or an accomplishment at a competition. There is nothing better than the feeling of dancing on stage and then coming off, knowing that you have given it your all.”
In preparation for the World Dance Championship, Darling has been working hard at choreography and weekly rehearsals through the summer and fall. In addition to regular dance classes at her home studio, Darling travels to Waterdown and Newmarket every weekend to rehearse with the team.
Darling will be competing in three styles of dance; jazz, contemporary, and ballet with solos in jazz and pointe which are her favourite styles. There will be 21 countries represented at the World Dance Championship. Darling will compete against 28 other dancers in the jazz solo category.
“At this competition, each dance will compete in a large category against dancers from across the world. If you perform well in the first round you will advance to the semi-finals and then the finals where medals will be awarded to the top three,” Darling said. “When we first arrive, we have a day to rehearse and then competition will begin. I will be dancing for the majority of the days of the competition.”
Darling says there is more to dancing than just the movements. It can provide so many benefits, from discipline to confidence, and perseverance. She recommends young dancers just “put themselves out there and follow what they love.
“Performing and competing can make people nervous but it is the sense of achievement and satisfaction that it brings that makes it worth it. If you love it, it is worth the time and hard work,” Darling said.