school shines at ADA national championships
By Fred Sherwin
dancer Kevin Howe poses with the trophy he won at the recent American Dance Awards
National Championships in Orlando, Florida. Fred Sherwin/Photo
little tiny dance school in Orléans, Leeming Danceworks on Youville Drive is beginning
to get a giant reputation for developing a group of highly talented, competitive
the recent American Dance Awards National Championships in Orlando, Florida, a
contingency of Danceworks students led by owner Sharon Leeming and choreographer
Kim McMahon captured three top four placings including second overall in the 12
and under Dance Off class category and third overall in the 12 and under Dance
Off class production competition.
results included a third place finish by Kevin Howe in the Teen Male Dancer of
the Year category and a third place finish for Brendan Lee in the Young Male Dancer
of the Year division.
the course of the eight day competition, the dancers performed 43 solo, duet and
group routines, earning 19 Ultimate Gold scores (280-300 points), 16 Gold marks
(270-279 points) and eight High Silver scores (255-269 points).
in all it was an extremely successful trip for the dance school, and one the young
dancers won't soon forget.
we decided last September to go to the competition as a group we said we would
go in with our heads held high and do the best we could and see and learn from
some of the best dancers in the world," explains Leeming. "We did so
much better than I think anyone expected, the kids are all thrilled. They can
hardly wait to get back into the studio and start training for next year."
2,000 dancers took part in the ADA National Championships which were from June
30 to July 7. The competing dance schools were divided into three separate rooms
dubbed Red, Blue and Green. The top five performances in each room advanced to
the overall Dance Off finals.
the Dance Off competition, several regional title holders from Leeming Danceworks
also had to compete in the titles competition which made for a long week.
told, Kevin Howe had to dance 15 solo and group numbers including the opening
production number for the titles competition. It was during rehearsals for the
production number that the 16-year-old developed a sore leg.
the middle of the number he pulled a muscle and had to spend the next three hours
stretching and trying to stay loose while 43 dancers in the Teen Female Dancer
of the Year competition ran through their performances.
the time finally came to show his stuff in the Teen Male Dancer of the Year competition,
Howe dug deep and managed to impress the judges enough to be named second runner
up out of 15 dancers.
couldn't jump as high or extend as much so I just ached it out and decided to
have fun with it. About halfway through I saw the judges smiling and enjoying
it so I guess they must have liked it," says Howe having returned to Ottawa
with the rest of the Danceworks contingent earlier this week.
and Brandon Lee pose with the trophies they picked up at the ADA National Championships
in Orlando, Florida. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Jasmine Lee also had to perform at less than 100 per cent. The youngster came
down with a brutal cold the day before the competition began. Battling the sniffles,
sinus congestion and a bad cough, the youngster still managed to land the top
score in the Red Room in the solo competition among nine- and 10-year-olds and
the top score in the duet/trio category with partner Olivier Roy.
top of that she also took part in the Bugle Call number which captured the High
Score in the Red Room and went on to finish second overall; she was in the Disney
Magic production that finished third overall and she finished in the Top 10 in
the Young Dancer of the Year title competition.
to be outdone, Jasmine's younger brother Brendan was awarded the High Score in
the male age 8 and under solo category and was a member of the squads that captured
the High Score in the Red Room for large group age 8 and under, small group age
8 and under and the Bugle Call and Disney Magic productions.
top it all off the seven year old also finished third out of five dancers in the
Young Male Dancer of the Year title competition.
title holders Vanessa Roby and Isabelle Proulx were in tough in the Teen Dancer
of the Year competition which boasted 43 title holders from across the U.S. and
Canada. Both failed to crack the Top 10 although they danced well.
and the rest of the Leeming Danceworks team are already looking forward to next
year's competition. Rubbing shoulders with some of the top dancers in the world
including Senior Male Dancer of the Year Scott MacDonald from Toronto, has provided
them with no end of inspiration.
is already doing extra push ups and plans to hit the weights all in an effort
to increase his overall strength.
I'll gain some strength and come back and do even better next year," says
Howe who'll be stepping up in class in 2005.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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