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Photo by Laura Lennie

Photo by Laura Lennie

Zofia Kasprzyk began dancing five years ago at the Rythum Plus Dance Company. The 10-year-old Stoney Creek native will go toe-to-toe with other amateur performers, including dancers, comedians, singers and ventriloquists, from Ontario at the Canadian National Exhibition’s 26th annual Rising Star Talent Competition this month at Exhibition Place.

Local ‘rising star’ set to take stage at CNE

By Laura Lennie, News Staff

Zofia Kasprzyk is taking her acro dance moves to the Canadian National Exhibition stage.

The 10-year-old Stoney Creek native will be competing in the CNE’s 26th annual Rising Star Talent Competition this month at Exhibition Place.

The contest is open to any type of amateur performer, including dancers, comedians, singers and ventriloquists, from Ontario. The competition is divided into a youth division, ages six to 12 and junior division, ages 13 to 21.

“I competed at the event last year and the year before, but it’s still nerve-wracking because I’m competing against not only dancers, but also so many other talented people, so you never know who’s going to come out on top,” said Zofia, who previously made it to the second and third rounds. “I’m still excited, though, because I just love watching all of the talent on stage.”

A panel of judges reviews DVD and YouTube submissions to determine who qualifies to compete in the contest.

The top three finalists will be awarded cash prizes, while the first-place winner will get the chance to represent the CNE at the Canadian Youth Talent Competition in November in Winnipeg, Man.

Zofia submitted a video from one of her competitions to the CNE in May.

“When I got a letter from them saying I had been accepted into the contest, I was really happy,” she said. “It was very happy knowing that I would be able to maybe see some familiar faces again. Because you do make friends when you’re participating in events like this. Making friends is one of my favourite parts of the whole dancing experience.”

Zofia began dancing five years ago at the Rythum Plus Dance Company.

Her sister, Katherine, also dances with the company and recently won the title of Miss Dance of America in Anaheim, Calif.

“I used to always watch my sister dance, I would try all of her moves and then one day, I just wanted to take up dancing,” Zofia said. “I wanted to follow in her footsteps. She’s kind of my inspiration.”

Zofia has danced her way to first-place finishes for her age category in a number of regional competitions.

She also won the title of Petite Miss Dance of Canada and was first runner-up at nationals last year in Orlando, Fla.

Whenever and wherever she hits the stage, Zofia has one rule.

“Having fun is the most important thing,” she said. “For me, it’s all about having fun and trying your best. I just want to go as far as I can until I can’t really do any more.”

The CNE’s 26th annual Rising Star Talent Competition preliminaries and semifinals will be held Friday, Aug. 17 to Friday, Aug. 31, with the finals taking place on Sunday, Sept. 2.

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