By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Nicole Farrugia, Zofia Kasprzyk and Emily Grady hope to dazzle audiences and judges with their dance moves on the Canadian National Exhibition stage this month.
The Stoney Creek natives and Rythum Plus Dance Company members will be competing in the CNE’s 28th annual Rising Star Talent Competition Aug. 15 to Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 at Exhibition Place.
The competition is open to any type of amateur performer, including dancers, comedians, singers and ventriloquists, from Ontario. The contest is divided into a junior division, ages six to 12 and youth division, ages 13 to 25.
Nicole will be doing a lyrical solo to the song “Believer” and Zofia will be performing an acro solo to an instrumental of“Adagio for Strings.”
Both will be competing in the junior division.
For Nicole, the appearance will be a first.
“I always get a little nervous before I go on stage,” the 12-year-old said. “But I’m really excited to see the other talents and meet new people. I think just being there will be really fun.”
The trip will be the third for Zofia, who impressed judges with her acro and jazz dance moves last year and scored a third-place finish in the championships.
“I’m very happy about getting a chance to go back again,” the 12-year-old said. “It’s a great experience in so many ways. It will be very nice to see old friends and make new ones.”
Emily will be doing an acro solo to an a cappella version of Silent Night.
She will be competing in the youth division.
“This is my first time going there,” the 13-year-old said. “I’m kind of nervous about competing in the youth division because I’ll be one of the youngest there. But I’m really excited to see the various talents, I’m really excited to watch all of them.”
A panel of judges reviews DVD and YouTube submissions to determine who qualifies to compete in the contest.
The top five finalists for each division will be awarded cash prizes, with the first-place winners taking home $1,000 in the junior division and $2,500 in the youth division.
Nicole, Zofia and Emily each submitted a video from one of their competitions to the CNE in June.
The trio said they felt honoured to have been selected.
“It’s really cool that we’re all going together,” Nicole said. “We’re definitely going to be cheering each other on.”
Nicole, Zofia and Emily have been dancing for a combined 22 years.
Each has moved their way to first-place finishes at a number of events locally and beyond over the years.
They all said there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing than performing on stage.
Nicole said when it comes to dancing on the CNE stage, she’s most looking forward to seeing how her moves compare to the talents of others.
“Dancing is just one talent. There are so many other amazing talents that will be showcased there,” she said. “Winning probably would be my last priority; I’d be happy to place or just move on to the next round. I’m just really excited to have the chance to perform on stage and truly live the experience.”
Zofia said the competition will be fierce.
“I’m just going to do the best I can. I’m looking forward to getting critiques from the judges,” she said. “I like to know how I can improve in my dancing. I think everybody wants to win, that’s their biggest goal, but I think I’m already happy just knowing that I made it this far.”
Emily, who admitted she’s a huge fan of the show America’s Got Talent, said she can’t wait to see all the different talents on stage.
“I went to watch Zofia last year and it was amazing. I really wanted to try it this year and I hope to do well,” she said. “Winning would be my ultimate goal, but even placing or getting to the next round would be great. I know that no matter what, it will be a great experience all around.”