Makenna and Samara Lee have been dancing so well these days that their entire family decided to make a big trip out of their next competition.
It just so happens the next big competition for the girls is the national ScotDance Canada Championships in Antigonish, Nova Scotia July 3 to 7. So, next week, they and their parents and their grandparents, will be flying out east.
Makenna, 10, has placed no worse than in the top three in the Novice category in Highland dance events on the Island and mainland this year, and as far back as April, 2010. On one of the walls in her room, her dad built a case for her medals — and it’s getting quite full. In a Nanaimo competition back in February, she won the division for the second year in a row against 29 other dancers. At her level, Makenna dances six steps — the Fling, Sword, Lilt, Flora and Seann Truibhas. At higher levels, dancers include the Jig, Hornpipe, Reel and Johnnie.
This is Makenna’s fourth year dancing, following a couple of seasons in ballet, and is taught by Cassandra Karras and her school of Highland dance.
“I like having fun,” she said when asked what she likes about the activity. “It’s a fun thing to do, but it is hard work.”
Her sister, four-year old Samara, is in her second year of Highland dancing, said her mom, Rhonda. This year is her first at a competitive level at the Primary category, where the dancers all receive ribbons or buckets of bubbles. She will be dancing in Nova Scotia as well.
“We have bets on whether she’ll do more waving than dancing,” said mom. “She just loves to have fun.”
Fun it might be, but Makenna admitted dancing in front of many people, and among other dancers her age, can be a little intimidating. When she gets nervous, Makenna said she concentrates on her own dancing and tries not to look at anyone else. That might be a good policy, because, says mom, there could be as many as 1,000 dancers at nationals, which is not an invitation-only event. Dancers who have competed in up to six ScotDance Canada sanctioned events, and finished in the top three in each, can enter the nationals.
Makenna said she’ll be dancing six times in the nationals, adding her favorite is the Fling.
“It’s the first dance she received a first place in,” said Rhonda.