A Nanaimo teen has become a world champion in Highland dancing.
Annalise Lam of Brigadoon Dance Academy was the overall winner in the junior division in Highland dancing this past weekend at the Cowal Gathering in Dunoon, Scotland.
The 17-year-old finished first in the fling, first in the sword dance, sixth in the seann triubhas and fifth in the reel and the combined results added up to first overall.
Lam, in an e-mail interview with the News Bulletin, said it feels unreal to be a world champion.
“The title of junior world champion exceeded all of my expectations,” she said. “The competition is so stiff, you just never know how you will place.”
She called it an incredible experience to step onto the renowned Cowal stage, and hearing applause there made her feel like she had “made it.” Lam’s technique was strong, her steps felt familiar and she competed with passion and elation.
“I did not hold back at all. I felt like I had found my place; Highland dancing was exactly what I was meant to do,” she said.
After her dances were finished she was one of the competitors to receive a ‘callback’ to the stage, meaning she had placed in at least one of the dances, so she was “over the moon” even before the results were announced.
“As a little girl I dreamed of being a world champion…” Lam said. “I thought I would become world champion when they announced my name, but now I realize that I became the champion in the years of hard work I put in.”
All that work and dedication now feels “100 per cent worth it,” she said.
“I am so grateful that I took the risk and put myself out there so I could have this experience of a lifetime,” she said. “I will truly never forget that day.”
Earlier in the week, Lam and a Brigadoon teammate, 16-year-old Keltie Willis, competed in the Commonwealth Highland Dance Championships in Stirling, Scotland. Lam won gold medals in both the reel and the seann triubhas, silver in the fling and placed fourth in the sword dance.
Brigadoon Dance Academy instructor Diena Henry said in a message to the News Bulletin that she “couldn’t be more proud” of her dancers.