ARTS November 23rd, 2016

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Dance troupe hits the heights in Germany

Leaside studio representing Canada wins most medals at international meet

BRIAN BAKER/TOWN CRIER THE WINNING TEAM: Megan Dunn, left, Mackenzie Lau, Darah Volman and Jayden Lau were part of the troupe that won 57 medals while representing Canada in Wetzlar, Germany.

Leaside’s Turning Pointe set a remarkable precedent during its trip to Wetzlar, Germany for the International Dance Organization’s World Ballet, Jazz and Modern Championships on Oct. 21.

The troupe netted 57 medals in total, including 24 gold — the most medals of any country.

Leading the way was Jayden Lau who scored the only individual medal, a silver in Jazz Male Solo.

His mom, Judy, admitted she was over the moon with her son’s performance.

“It was just a wonderful experience,” she said.

A quiet Jayden played coy as he relayed his experiences in Germany.

“I think I did really good, considering all the different countries that were there,” the 11-year-old said. “I just kind of run through my head, and I do it the way I feel it’s good, and then I go out on the stage.”

He managed to push aside his butterflies while dancing on a flat stage, a first for him. While in Germany, the team visited a castle and the small nation of Luxembourg as well.

Megan Dunn, daughter of the dance studio’s director, Nicole Garland, earned three golds for Jazz Formation, Jazz Small Group and Ballet Formation. She also netted a bronze for Modern Small Group.

It was a whole new experience for the 12-year-old.

“It was a lot of fun. Definitely an experience,” she said at the studio near Brentcliffe Road and Vanderhoof Avenue.

She admitted she was a bit intimidated by the other dancers at first, but once she put her game face on she shed her anxiety. Of course, her mother was on hand to help out.

“My mom had to come and calm me down. She said, ‘We can’t have this stress, it’s going to cost you’,” Dunn said.

Among Turning Pointe’s winners were Kaitlyn Cheung, taking silver for Adult Team Jazz Formation, Zachary Williams earning two golds for ballet and jazz formation. Darah Volman also won a gold for the children’s team in ballet formation.

The next closest country regarding medal count was Poland with 18, and Slovenia finished second in the gold category with six.

Team Canada national director Bonnie Dyer informed the team it was the best showing the country has seen.

Turning Pointe has two more dancers heading abroad for international competitions. Sarah Verreault and Mackenzie Lau will be attending the IDO World Tap Championships on Nov. 29 to Dec. 3 in Reisa, Germany.

They’ll also take part in five competitions in Ontario this coming season.