By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – It felt more like a Cirque du Soleil performance than a dance competition.
And that was no coincidence.
The second edition of ‘Move With The Beat’ took over Aultsville Theatre on Saturday (March 21).
Ottawa’s KaliAndrews Dance Company’s jaw-dropping aerial acrobatics captivated the crowd, as performers donning gold masks and matching outfits huddled together on stage and transformed a three-sided ladder into moving poetry.
The two-day event is the only all-ages competition combining dance, circus, and aerial acrobatics, according to its director Meaghan Wegg.
The 29-year-old Montreal resident graduated in 2005 from L’Ecole Nationale de Cirque and toured internationally with the famous dance troupe. She holds a diploma specializing in the highest level of circus coaching, and majored in aerial hoop and minored in contortion.
“Circus has become very popular in the dance world, but at competitions there’s no category for it – they just compete against acrobatic dancers,” said Wegg.
She described the event as an opportunity for dancers to get experience in front of an audience on a stage with professional judges. All of the dancers go home with a video demo of their act, with feedback of the judging critiques.
Being under the spotlight and scrutiny of the judges didn’t faze the Diva Dolls, Lauren Gale and Britney Disotell of Cornwall’s Beat Central Dance Company (BCDC).
The novice competitors reveled in loud cheers during their hip-hop inspired routine.
“We’ve been practicing since December,” said Disotell. “I thought it was going to be scary, but we just went out and fun.”
The Diva Dolls agreed the event gave them a newfound confidence.
BCDC leader Jane Hennessy Craibe said all 144 dancers in 62 routines from the local company earned their standing ovations.
Move With The Beat drew dancers from Montreal, Ottawa, Terrebonne, Brockville, Chatham, and Woodlawn. Powell School of Dance was the only other Cornwall squad.
The competition picks up again tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Admission is free and people can expect fun and a family-friendly vibe,” said Wegg.
For more information, www.facebook.com/MWTBCompetition.