Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Feb. 23


Updated March 20

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette



(Posted 7:30 a.m., May 11)

Orléans dance studio cleans up at local American Dance Awards competition
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Leeming Dancework's competitive dance team stands in front of some of trophies they won at the recent ADA regional competition in Ottawa where they captured nine individual titles. (Not pictured: Emma Portner) Fred Sherwin/Photo

Leeming Danceworks has gained a reputation as one of the best dance studios in Ottawa and for good reason. The Orléans dance studio has won more than its fair share of awards -- much more.

A week after getting the overall top score in every senior category at the Fever Toronto dance competition, they won nine individual titles and secured top scores in five group categories at the American Dance Awards competition in Ottawa on the weekend.

Their success over the past few years has led to a number of students transferring from other schools, including 15-year-old Annie Chick who won the Teen Dancer of the Year title at the ADAs in Ottawa.

"It's been amazing. I'm so happy I made the switch," said Chick who has been dancing competitively for the past six years. "I've learned so much and I've gained so much experience. I never would of had been able to do what I'm doing now at my old school."

Chick won her title dancing a contemporary solo to the song "No Need" by The Cranberries.

Because of the sheer number of dancers in the teen category, nearly 160 in all, the organizers awarded three teen titles and Leeming students won them all. Besides Chick, Lauren O'Neill and Brianna Clarke were also named Teen Dancers of the Year, making them eligible to compete at the ADA National Championships in Orlando in July.

Other title winners include Noah Latreille who won Young Male Dancer of the Year; Ashley De Alameida won Junior Dancer of the Year and William Mayer was named Junior Male Dancer of the Year.

Clarke also received the top overall score for her solo performance of "Lola", and O'Neill teamed up with Dominic Prud'homme to receive the top adjudicated score for duets and trios for their performance of "Lost".

As was the case in the Teen category, the Dancer of the Year division for competitors 16 and over also had over 150 entries which resulted in multiple title holders and once again they were all from Leeming as Emma Portner and Mary-Kathryn Bohn both won the coveted blue title holder's jacket.

Bohn, 16, is a veteran member of the Leeming Danceworks studio having competed with her sister Emma for nearly eight years. The ADA Ottawa title is her first since 2010.

"I really wasn't expecting it at all. I was very excited" said Bohn, who won her title for her lyrical performance of "Come Dance With Me".

Kyle Lemay rounded out the ADA title recipients from Leeming by capturing the Male Dancer of the Year title.

Beside the individual titles, Leeming Danceworks received the top overall score for their small group and large group routines at both the teen and senior levels; as well as the top overall score for their class performance of "Is That All There Is" which received the top adjudicated score at Fever T.O.

Leeming Danceworks founder Sharon Leeming Mann credits the studio's search for increasingly more challenging choreography for the students' success, but it is the students themselves who turn the choreography into award-winning performances.

"It's a combination of the kids challenging themselves and new choreography. They also push themselves by going to a lot of dance conventions and workshops," said Leeming Mann.

The studio's emphasis on more challenging choreography was recognized by the judges at the ADAs who awarded them three top choreography awards including top junior choreographer which went to double award recipient Emma Portner.

All seven titleholders now have the option of performing at the ADA Nationals in Orlando. Emma Bohn will be making the trip with her sister Mary Kathryn to defend the National title she won last year. But first they have three more competitions to fine tune their routines at Candance Montreal, Brockville and Niagara Falls.

Judging by their recent success, they will no doubt return home with even more titles and a few dozen trophies.

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



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