Since the beginning of summer, Lucy Trepanier and Halle Ebdrup have been commuting from Nanaimo to Fort Langley, sometimes multiple times per week, to prepare for the biggest show dance competition in the world. Show dance is a kind of dance in which the participants portray characters tell a story though their movements and expressions.
The International Dance Organization World Show Dance Championships are taking place in Riesa, Germany from Nov. 20 to 25. The event draws 250,000 competitors age seven to 19 from six continents. The Nanaimo duo are among 50 members of Team Canada ShowDance West, which includes dancers from across B.C. and as far as Lethbridge, Alta.
Trepanier, 16, is attending for the first time, while 15 year old Ebdrup is making her second consecutive appearance.
“It’s been intense and it’s been a lot of hard work but it’s been super fun,” Ebdrup said of the training regimen.
“I’ve made so many new friends and just being now exposed to such a high-level group, you’ve kind of got to kick up your game,” Trepanier added.
“I definitely think my dance has improved… I’m so excited to see the final product.”
Even though Ebdrup made the team last year, she was unsure if she would make the cut. She was unable to try out in-person due to scheduling conflicts and resorted to sending in a successful audition tape. Trepanier said there were around 40 other dancers when she attended a tryout in New Westminser.
“It was really intense and I was scared I didn’t have a chance,” she said.
Trepanier said she was “in shock” when she heard she made the team. At first she was debating if she should follow through, because she knew it would be a big commitment commuting to Fort Langley every week for practice, especially when, as a Grade 11 student, school was her main priority.
“But then I realized I’m never going to have this opportunity again. And when I heard [Ebdrup] made the team, we can share carpooling and everything so it was a given that I should do it.”
The Nanaimo duo, both students at Tempo Dance Academy, said the early training sessions focussed on technique, with head choreographer Danielle Gardner later introducing the dances. The pair will both compete in the “large group” category but in separate age groups.
Ebdrup said she’s looking forward to once again competing against and being inspired by the best show dancers in the world. Trepanier said she’s expecting it to be “an adventure.”
“It sounds really intense because we’re going to be waking up at 5 a.m. every morning, being at the arena to support everyone,” she said.
“There are so many guidelines, so many rules … and they tell you how intense Russia is and all these other teams and it sounds terrifying. And they were also telling us about how lucky we are to be staying in a hotel, that some other teams are literally sleeping in cars or sleeping in tents because they can’t afford it but they just love dance so much that they want to compete.”
Trepanier and Ebdrup said they are not overly concerned with how they finish at the competition. They just want to perform as well as they can and honour Gardner and their teammates.
“I just want to make Danielle proud and I want it to be a good run for our group and I want to know that we put our best work on that stage,” Ebdrup said.