Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 7 a.m., May 2)

Local dance studio celebrates 25 years of excellence with more hardware
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Leeming Danceworks students have won five Candance indiviidual titles this year. They include (front row l to r) Brianna Clarke , Miss Teen Candance Montreal; Emma Bohn, Miss Candance Ottawa; Noah Latreille, Mister Junior Candance Montreal; (back row) Keanu Uchida Mister Candance Ottawa; and Ashley De Almeida Junior Miss Candance Montreal. Fred Sherwin Photo

It's been 25 years since Sharon Leeming-Mann first opened her dance studio in Orléans. During that span of time the studio has grown, both in the number of students, and in the number of awards and titles they've won.

With every year that passes they seem to win even more hardware than the year before. So far, this year has been no different. At the recent Candance competition at the Nepean Sportsplex, the studio's dancers won three indivdual titles, to go along with the three individual titles they won in Montreal the week before. They finished first and second in the senior division Diamond Danceoff and they received the highest score in senior solo, senior duet or trio, senior small group, senior lrage group and senior line/extended line.

In fact, they received 28 Diamond Awards in total, which is the highest award you can achieve at a Candance competition.

Two weeks prior to the Candance event, the Leeming ensemble ventured south of the border for the Hall of Fame Challenge in Niagara Falls, N.Y. to see how they measured up against some of the larger studios in the Toronto area and Western New York.

Going up against the bigger more prestigious studios for the first time, the groups' expectations were fairly low key. But then they surprised themselves by not only holding their own, but winning several of the top awards including the top two positions in the senior large group category with the same two routines that would bring them so much success in Ottawa two weeks later.

They also placed second and third in the senior small group, while Keanu Uchida and Brianna Clarke placed second and third respectively in the senior solo division.

One of the secrets to the studio's continued success, besides Leeming-Mann's refusal to let the instructors or the students rest on their laurels, is the fact that so many of their graduates come back to pass along their expertise and knowledge to the next generation of up and coming students.

Alumni like Kevin Howe, who made it to the Top 16 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4, and award-winning choreograher Emma Portner, have allowed the studio to continue to raise the bar when it comes to technique, consistency and quality.

In that same vein, Leeming-Mann recently introduced a mentorship program whereby the senior competitive dancers spend time training and working on choreography with the junior students. In that way, the senior dancers are playing a key role in continuing the studio's legacy of excellence well into the future.

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



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