(Posted 1 p.m., May 24)
in a class by himself
By Fred Sherwin
nine years at the Leeming Danceworks studio in Orléans, Kevin Howe is ready
to move up to the next level and try his hand at the wonderful world of
professional dancing. Fred Sherwin/Photo
dancer Kevin Howe gets his first professional pay cheque, he'll have his
mother to thank for it and a few other people who helped out along the way.
was five I told my mother that I never ever wanted to dance," says
Howe who will be performing in his final year end recital this Saturday
night after spending the last eight years at the Leeming Danceworks studio
on Youville Drive.
objections his mother enrolled him in junior jazz class in Trenton where
he lived at the time.
taking a class and there was a beginner class at the same time so she signed
me up," recalls Howe.
his best friend joined the class and he started to enjoy it more.
grew on me after awhile," he says.
After three years
in Trenton, Howe and his family moved to Orleans. He went to another dance
studio for a year before finally enrolling at Leeming when he was nine.
joining the dance studio, Howe did the splits during a jazz class. His teacher
immediately went and told Leeming owner Sharon Leeming-Mann.
she was like, 'You have to see this boy. He has major potential.' And then
Sharon sat me down and told me about competitive dancing and that's how
it started," says Howe.
Within a couple
of years Howe started collecting titles and awards at a dizzying pace. In
2003 he won the Mr. Teen CanDance title and the ADA Teen Dancer of the Year
Award at the Ottawa ADA event.
In 2004, he won
the Teen Dancer of the Year title at the ADA competition in Montreal and
was second runner up at the ADA National Championships in Orlando. In 2005,
he teamed up with duet partner Isabelle Proulx and together earned the top
two overall scores among duets and trios at the Ottawa CanDance event.
up to the senior division last year, Howe received the top overall solo
score, male or female, at both the Montreal and Ottawa CanDance events and
two of the top three overall scores among competitors 13 and over at the
Ottawa ADA competition where he was also named Male Dancer of the Year.
Through the years,
Howe has also been one of the principal dancers in Leeming's group routines
which have won numerous awards and registered countless top marks at both
the CanDance and ADA competitions.
He has also become
an award winning choreographer and for the past three years has taught some
of the dance studios younger members.
Leeming-Mann is tremendously proud of Howe and the progress he's made since
coming to the studio as a nine-year-old.
proud of him. I don't think I've seen another student come as far, not only
from a performance aspect, but also with his creativity and choreography.
he's gone through a big advancement especially at such a young age,"
wonderful with the kids, which is one of the reasons why he'll be so sadly
missed, not only among his peers, but also by all the young ones he's competed
along side with in our production numbers and the ones he's taught. He's
Howe will dance
competitively with Leeming Danceworks for the last time at the ADA National
Championships in Orlando in July where he's hoping to get noticed by some
of the major American choreographers who will be there, or at least develop
the type of connections that will help him take his dancing to the next
to be a professional dancer, there's no question. Are you kidding? That's
my dream," says Howe who will be graduating from Canterbury High School
His plan at present
is to work in music videos which means he will eventually have to gravitate
to Los Angeles. In the meantime, he'll be looking to gain as much experience
as possible by taking advantage of whatever opportunities come his way whether
they're in Canada or south of the border.
someone will come up and talk to me (in Orlando) and sort of take me under
their wing," says Howe who sounds every bit like a person standing
on the edge of greatness. "I'm definitely ready to take my dancing
as far as I can go."
says Howe possesses all the attributes he'll need to be successful. He's
versatile, he can sing and do acrobatics, and he's tall with the type of
wholesome good looks that choreographers and producers are looking for.
Howe says his biggest influences over the years have been his father, Toronto
choreographer Brian Foley and former Leeming graduate Nick Dummard who has
been in a number of Broadway productions.
one of the first male dancers I met that I could look up to," says
Howe. "And my dad, my dad is an old military guy who's pretty easy
going, so he was never the over-bearing type of parent, but he was always
there for me. Whenever I needed someone to lean on he was there. And Brian
helped bring out my creative side. He taught me how to grow as a choreographer."
Howe is hoping
to take all of the influences he's had in his life up until now and use
them to be the best dancer/choreographer he can be. Wherever that leads
him, only time will tell.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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