Volume 9 Week 3

Tuesday, Dec. 309


Updated March 18

Updated June 12

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette




(Posted 5 p.m., Apr. 25)

Local dance school shines at Ottawa CanDance competition
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Leeming Danceworks members Kevin Howe and Isabelle Proulx tied themselves for the top mark among intermediate duets aged 11-14 at the Ottawa CanDance competition on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Leeming Danceworks dance school has seven reasons to smile this morning after placing seven routines in the Diamond Dance-off portion of the Ottawa CanDance competition Sunday evening.

CanDance is a nationally recognized series of regional dance competitions held every spring and the Ottawa event is one of the most popular on the calendar bringing together dancers from as far away as Toronto and Montreal. This year's competition attracted 19 dance schools in all, including The Dance Factory from Mississauga.

The Diamond Dance-Off brings together those junior and senior competitors who scored a 95 or better during the four day event for one final competition. The top three routines in both categories are then presented a small cash award.

Leading the way for Leeming Danceworks was the duet of Kevin Howe, 16, and Isabelle Proulx, 14. Unbelievably, the pair tied themselves for the top mark among all duets in jazz, ballet, variety, and tap between the ages of 11 and 14 for their lyrical duet "My Dear Old Friend" and their jazz routine "Shiver".

"We were very surprised," said Howe, who won the Teen Mr. CanDance title on the opening day of the competition. "To have the high score for one routine is amazing, but to have both high scores is unbelievable."

Howe also received two diamond scores for his solo jazz and tap routines, winning both the senior solo jazz and tap categories against nine other dancers, all of them female. For the first time in his dance career, Howe started working out last summer to improve his conditioning. He also had his tonsils removed which has helped with his breathing.

"It's made a big difference. I don't get as winded as much anymore," said Howe.

Other solo performers who did well include nine-year-old Sierra Slegtenhorst who was first runner-up in the Mini Miss CanDance event, Stephanie Harding, 14, who received the top mark among the novice competitors and Jasmine Lee, 10, who was second runner-up competing against 15 other dancers for the Junior Miss CanDance title.

Sisters Mary Kathryn and Emma Bohn (right) received the top mark among junior duets aged 10 and under at the Ottawa CanDance Competition on the weekend. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Not to be outdone by their older studiomates, the sister duet of Mary Kathryn Bohn, 8, and Emma Bohn, 7, earned the high score for duets among competitors 11 years and under for their demi-character tap routine "Tea for Two".

While the two girls didn't quite score high enough to make it into the Diamond Dance-Off they still earned more than 90 points which put them into the platinum category. Just two weeks ago they earned diamond at the Montreal CanDance competition and Emma won the Mini Miss title.

Both girls say they love to dance and have made a ton of friends through Leeming Danceworks and the various competitions they've entered.

Of the 65 routines that made it into the Diamond Dance-Off competition, there were only five duets. Two were Howe and Proulx, while a third featured Olivier Roy, 11, and Jasmine Lee, 10 who were the youngest intermediate (11-14) competitors to earn a diamond score for their routine "Slow Boat to China".

Roy and Lee were also part of the "Sing, Sing" production number that earned a diamond score in intermediate line tap along with Howe, Proulx, the Bohn sisters and 17 other Leeming Dancers.

The school's senior large group tap routine, "Tainted Love", also picked up a diamond score as did "Twinkle" which earned a diamond in junior demi-character ballet.

Last, but by no means least, the small junior tap group of Brendan Lee, Mary Kathryn and Emma Bohn, Sierra Slegtenhorst, Emma Cowie, Juliana Krajcovic, Marianne Lynch, Emma Portner and Mahafin Elkhazin walked away from the competition with the runner-up prize in the junior Diamond Dance-Off as well as the Adjudicator's Choice Award for junior routines 10 years and under.

All in all it was a tremendously successful competition for the Leeming Danceworks school which only recently expanded its studio space on Youville Drive.

"It's amazing. Every year the kids keep improving by leaps and bounds. Last year I told them they had improved by 100 per cent. This year I'm going to have to tell them they've improved by 200 per cent," says Leeming.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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Bob Monette

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