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Teen dancer practising and raising funds for international competition

Saturday, 04 November 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Teen dancer practising and raising funds for international competition
Tori Wakaluk performs a solo choreography at Turning Pointe Dance Studio’s 2017 Festival of the Stars.   Photo by Shannon Robison

Teen dancer practising and raising funds for international competition

By Georgia Dale

Tori Wakaluk of Crowsnest Pass is working hard preparing for her trip to Poland to compete in the International Dance Organization’s World Ballet, Jazz and Modern/Contemporary Championships with Team Canada West.

She has a rigorous schedule of fundraisers, rehearsals and dances to learn on top of usual school duties and her dedicated work with Turning Pointe Dance Studio.

In spite of the challenges ahead, Tori seems calm, confident and sparking with energy. She says the whole experience has felt “surreal and crazy” since she was chosen for Team Canada West along with 24 other dancers.

She travels to Edmonton for rehearsals nearly every weekend until the team leaves Dec. 1. The competition runs from Dec. 3 until Dec. 9 and will be live-streamed on the International Dance Organization website:


On a tight learning curve, she had to prepare several dances in a few months, when ordinarily she would have an entire year to prepare for competition. But she is excited to be working with some reputable choreographers outside her home studio and is ready to learn everything she can from the experience.

Tori will dance in three team choreographies and, to the excitement of her instructors and colleagues at the Hillcrest studio, she also has the distinction of being chosen to compete in several extra dances.

She will be in three smaller groups of up to seven dancers competing in jazz, modern and ballet styles, along with a jazz duo with a dancer from Edmonton, and two jazz solos.

Even though her instructors — Miss Fenton, Miss Candice and Miss Christina — can’t be there to help her learn the dances, they have been assisting Tori with technique and timing as she races to perfect them.

When she describes the support received from her family, her studio and her community, Tori glows with gratitude. She says people around town and students at Crowsnest Consolidated High School have been unbelievably supportive and are making her feel really special.

As for the fundraising experience, Tori says it has been amazing: she has already exceeded her original goal of $5,000. She needs to cover nearly all of her expenses, including air and ground travel, rehearsals, costumes for all eight of her dances and her entry fees.

Tori believes the support that people have given her in the form of donations and simply words of encouragement is unique to her small community.

“I don’t think that the dancers from the bigger cities get to experience that,” she says.

Tori is in Grade 11 and has been dancing since she was four. She is passionate about her career in dance and spends Thursdays teaching classes for younger dancers. Between teaching her own classes, helping her teachers with their classes and practising on her own, she spends considerable time at the studio and calls it her second home.

There are opportunities to cheer Tori on before she goes.Crockets Trading Company in Bellevue is hosting a meet-and-greet next Monday from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

Team Canada West is hosting a showcasing gala Nov. 24 at 5 p.m. at Festival Place in Edmonton, where Tori and her team will perform and raise funds with a silent auction and raffle. All are welcome and tickets cost $22 for adults and $18 for seniors.

Until she leaves, Tori is working hard on her dances and looking forward to taking in the week-long competition, which will include performances from the best of over 90,000 dancers from six continents.