By Gord Bowes, News staff
Five Hamilton dancers are going to the “Olympics” of their sport.
Gillian Magcalas, Tanisha McDermott-Hansen, Azia Naguit, Olivia D’Alessandro and Daneen Melanson will compete with Team Canada at the World Show Dance Championships in Prague, Sept. 2-8.
“We had five girls audition and all five got picked,” said Elsie Misuk, owner of Star-Lite Dance Studio.
“It’s a big deal. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them.”
The quintet auditioned for the team in Guelph in May following the Canadian National Dance Championships.
Two other Star-Lite students — Ava Charles, 8, and Hayley Butler, 17 — are going to the world tap dance championships in Germany in December.
This is the first time Star-Lite has sent anyone to the show dance worlds, which is organized by the International Dance Organization.
The studio, located on Hempstead Drive, is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Misuk opened her studio on Fennell Avenue East in 1980
McDermott-Hansen, 19, has been dancing since she was three years old. She says winning trophies at local competitions is one thing, but an international event is a whole different matter.
“The is finally something you can look back on, like an accomplishment you work your whole life for,” she said.
“Dance isn’t considered a sport for the Olympics, so we have our own because it means so much to so many people.”
Team Canada members are practising four days a week, five hours a day as they prepare for the worlds.
Kerry Correia, who has helped bring the students up to the international standard along with Sarah Orfei and Joelle Oulette, said the worlds are a special event, complete with podium ceremonies and the playing of the winning country’s national anthem after events.
“It’s like the Olympics of dance,” she said.