TEAM CANADA- A Parents Perspective By Darla Isfeld
AUDITIONS ON JUNE 23rd 2013!
As I reflect on my experience as a parent who’s child is a member of the Canadian National dance team, I’d never dreamed that this would become as much of an adventure for myself as it was for my daughter!
From the minute Katheryn’s letter of acceptance to the team arrived, we were thrown into a whirlwind of excitement. Getting ready to compete at the dance world’s version of the Olympics is no small feat. Putting together the best dancers from different studios who, for the most part, didn’t know one another except on a competitive level, could have been risky. But,there is no “I” in team, so ego’s were left at the door & everyone came together with a common goal. There were only 2 months to get everything perfect, and it takes an extremely dedicated group of choreographers, dancers, parents, volunteers, & seamstress’s to pull it off! Once rehearsals began, my iPhone lit up with a constant stream of emails & messages and it seemed like we were constantly planning, fundraising, or driving. My hat went off to the parents that drove to each practice from as far away as Chilliwack, as I was one of the lucky one’s who lived only 5 minutes away from the rehearsal studio.
As the departure date for Frankfurt drew closer, I began to observe bond’s forming amongst the dancer’s. I think it was around the time that the team jacket’s arrived and were donned that something seemed to “click”. No longer were they representing their own studio, they were representing Canada!
We drew a lot of attention at the airport in our maple leaf jacket’s. Many curious people asked us about the team and wished us good luck!
After a 10 hour flight to Germany (and a 10 hour time difference) there was no time for rest! The team had to compete first thing in the morning, and I admired how even though they were exhausted, they diligently practiced in the hotel parking lot for 2 hours!
1st day at the IDO World Championships. Performing Choreography by Joshua Beamish of Move the company.
Before the sun rose the next day, the bus left for the arena, and the kid’s broke into a spontaneous version of “Oh Canada”. Little did they know that our anthem would be played 16 times during the upcoming competition as they danced their way to the top spot on the podium.
The International dance organization put on a fabulous, well planned event. With 1500 dancers from 23 countries, the competition took place at the Fraport Arena, a five thousand seat basketball venue which they divided into half for the competition and half for rehearsal space. I remember fondly how we parents decorated our sitting area each morning with Canadian flags. As we sat together through those long days, we too formed a lasting bond as we laughed, cried, hugged, & cheered till we were hoarse. The stress and anticipation was felt by all as we anxiously awaited to hear if we had advanced to the next round, and what the final placings were. By the end of the competition, we were all a family, parents & children alike, brought together by our passion for dance.
It mattered not what studio we danced for at home, for during that week, Team Canada was a studio in itself.
I witnessed barriers broken unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in the lower mainland dance community, and I feel we are all better for it.
The pride I felt watching Katheryn on the podium while our anthem played and flag was raised was something I could never put a monetary value on- for it was priceless! Seeing her walk in the parade of nations amongst dancers from all over the world, I realized how lucky she was to have been chosen for this opportunity. It made every penny spent and every bit of effort worth it.
In closing, my thoughts return to an email sent to us from Team Director Bonnie Dyer on the eve of our departure to Germany. She wrote: ” A true champion is someone who is gracious if they win, and even more gracious if they do not. In years to come, medals & trophies will be misplaced, but the memories of your journey of training to dance on the world stage, meeting new friends, striving to do your best and being proud to represent your country- these are the memories you will carry with you forever”.
I think that says it all.
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