Local dancer Macy Obara will join some of the best dancers in the world, representing Canada and Lethbridge, while competing in the World Dance Championships in Reisa, Germany Nov. 20-25.
“It’s something I have always wanted to do,” said Obara, 14, who has been flying to Langley, B.C. to practise with some of the best dancers in Canada for the competition. She has been working with choreographers Danielle Gardner and Charlene Hart on a duo as well as on a large group performance. She practises her solo routine at her hometown studio, Exisdance, with teacher and owner Janielle Scott, one of several local instructors she works with.
Obara is a versatile dancer who does ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern and novelty dancing.
She has been dancing since she was four years old.
“I started at the University of Lethbridge, but that was for preschool, so I stopped for a few years and started again when I was nine or 10,” she said.
“Then she took up gymnastics and went back into dancing,” added proud dad Jeff Obara.
“She’s a very well-rounded dancer,” said one of Obara’s instructors, Taylor Rypien, who has been teaching Obara hip hop dancing for the past five years.
Rypien noted they informed her of the opportunity to compete in the worlds and let Obara take it from there. The International Dance Organization has over 250,000 member dancers from six continents. The World Championship format is Olympic-style with only one gold, silver and bronze medal presented on the podium while the world champion’s national anthem is played as the top three medalists’ flags are raised.
The competition includes children, junior and adult categories. Obara will be competing in several events in the junior (age 12-15) category for both East and West teams.
The West team includes 22 determined and talented dancers ages 7-19, who dedicate their spare time to their sport and travel every Sunday for 11 weeks to train for this incredible opportunity to represent Canada. This year’s team includes dancers from Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mill Bay, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Penticton, Powell River, Quesnel, Richmond, Salmon Arm, Sechelt, Surrey, West Vancouver, Vernon and Lethbridge.
Macy is just excited to be part of the event.
“I don’t even really care if I win. I’ve seen some really amazing dancers and made some really great friends with them,” she enthused.
She is excited abut the routines themselves.
“The group routine is Little Red Riding Hood and 21 Wolves. I’m Little Red Riding Hood,” she said.
“The smaller group is one queen and five servants. But the duo is my favourite, because it has Michael Jackson, and me and my partner Tianna (Chilibeck, from Surrey, B.C.) love Michael Jackson. My solo is about escaping darkness,” she described.
She noted of all the dance forms she can do, she enjoys jazz and hip hop the most.
“That’s a tough question. I enjoy jazz and hip hop the most because I’m a very energetic dancer.
“I like exploring different styles and concepts,” she continued.
“It’s been a lot of fun because I can practise my solo choreography here with Janelle Scott.”
Though the event isn’t for another couple of weeks, she already would like to compete in another world championship.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I’d love to do it again. It’s an opportunity to represent Canada.
“And I’ve met a lot of great friends,” she continued.
Her dad, Jeff, is proud of her, but credited her hard work for making it work.
“She works really hard at it. She’s very passionate about dancing and this is the fruits of all of her work. It’s very exciting,” he said.
“It’s an unreal experience. It’s a huge deal for our studio. We don’t get to go, but we’ll be watching her on TV.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity for her,” noted Rypien.