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(Posted 7:30 a.m., July 28)

Orléans dancers shine at American dance competition
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Isabelle Proulx and Kevin Howe recently returned from the American Dance Awards National Championship in New York City where they placed two routines in the Dance-off event. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The American Dance Awards National Championship is one of the most prestigous dance competitions in the North American, bringing together regional champions from across Eastern Canada and the United States.

To place in the top 10 at the event is a major accomplishment, especially for dancers from a small centre like Ottawa. To place in the top three or to get an invitation to the National Dance-off is even more rare, which is why the recent feat of Leeming Danceworks members Kevin Howe and Isabelle Proulx to qualify not one, but both of their duets in the Dance-off is so amazing.

The pair went into the New York City competition having received the top two overall scores for a duet or trio at the ADA regional competition in Ottawa for their jazz and lyrical routines as well as the Adjudicators’ Award for the top overall score in May.

The Dance-off is restricted to the top six duets in each of two rooms out of more than 120 duets that were registered.

“We thought one of the routines might get into the Dance-off, but we were really surprised when they both got in,” says Isabelle who’s been dancing with Kevin for the past two years.

“The two routines are so different. We thought we had a good shot with our jazz routine and a lot of people were really intrigued with our lyrical number,” says Kevin, 17.

The pair have been working with Toronto choreographer Ryan Foley for the past two years and have already started working with him on their routines for next year.

“We thought he couldn’t top last year’s routines this year and he did, so we’re really looking forward to next year,” says Isabelle who’s two years younger than her partner.

As well as Kevin performed with Isabelle, he shone even brighter on his own where he finished second runner up in the Senior Male Dancer of the Year competition for dancers 16 and over and unbelievably got the top mark in the jazz class competing against both men and women.

“I was insanely happy about that,” says Kevin. “Especially since it’s just graded on your technical ability and I’ve never considered myself a real technical dancer. I tend to concentrate more on the interpretation of my dancing.”

Not to be outdine by Leeming’s elder statesmen, the sister act of eight-year-old Emma and 10-year-old Mary-Kathyrn Bohn left their own mark in New York City.

The pair received the top mark among duets nine and 10 years old and they finished in third place among all duets 12 and under for their routine “My Favourite Things”.

Last but not least, Emma was named the 4th runner up in the Young Dancer of the Year competition in spite of the fact that she was the youngest of the 23 competitors.

Needless to say, Leeming Danceworks owner Sharon Leeming-Mann was thrilled with the students’ results.

“I don’t know what to say. I mean for them to go down there and do so well says a lot about their ability and the level of commitment they’ve put into their dancing. They’re extremely talented, they’re extremely hard working and they love to perform,” says Leeming.

For more information about Leeming Danceworks visit www.orleansonline.ca/LeemingDanceworks.

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


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