October 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
Tori Wakaluk represents Canada
Local dancer to represent Canada at World Dance Championships
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald contributor photo
Tori Wakaluk
Pass Herald Reporter
The World Dance Championships are like the Olympics of dance, and one talented local dancer made it on the national team to represent Team Canada West.

Sixteen-year-old Tori Wakaluk will be flying with her parents to Poland at the beginning of December, where she and a group of other talented girls will leave their hearts on the stage for a chance to stand on the podium as a medalist. Competing at the International Dance Organization sanctioned world competition are over 90 nations and over 250 individual dancers from six continents.

Over the past few weeks, Tori and the other 11 girls on the adult Team Canada West team have been working with award-winning choreographers on a modern/contemporary, world ballet and jazz dance piece that they will be performing for judges at the Championships.

“I feel like thankfully, we already have our pieces done, so we can work on cleaning them and tweaking parts. I feel like we’re pretty ahead of the game,” she says. “Our jazz routine is super intricate and fast-paced and there are a lot of lines that need to be the same with everyone, so it’s a lot of pristine movement. Our ballet is a more Spanish-influenced piece, so it’s not really classical. It’s very powerful. And there is quite a big story to our contemporary, so you really want to be able to portray that to the audience. There’s lots of different movement that you need to be able to hit the same.”
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A dancer since four years old and professionally trained in ballet, point, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, musical theater, tap, working with renowned choreographers is still a valuable experience for Tori, pushing her to new boundaries in each of the genres.

“They’re so different from what I’m used to, and that’s what’s also really pushing me as a dancer because their choreography is much different from my teachers, which is awesome,” she says. “I’m learning so much. I think it’ll really help me improve as a dancer.”

This won’t be the first time Tori will be travelling for dance - she has performed both as a solo dancer and with her studio, across North America, like California’s Disneyland, Vancouver and Kelowna - but this will be her first time dancing in Europe.

This past summer, Tori didn’t think much of the audition for a spot on Team Canada West in Edmonton.

“I thought that the experience would be good for me, just the whole audition process,” she says.

Several weeks later, she received an email that out of the almost 300 dancers that auditioned, she was one of 24 to make it on Team Canada West for her age group that will take her to Poland this December.
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Although she grew up in a family with three older brothers who all played hockey and a father who played in the NHL, Tori was happier lacing up her pointe shoes as opposed to skates.

“Everyone wanted me to play hockey, but I was so in love with dance,” she says. “I love the challenge of it. It always challenges you to push past those boundaries that you’ve created for yourself. The expression is something that moves people without words.”

Now 16 years old in grade 11 at Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS), Tori knows that dance isn’t just an after-school hobby; it’s a path she wants to pursue her entire life.

“Whenever people ask me what I want to do after I finish school, it’s always dance. I think it’s hard for people to comprehend that there is actually a career in dance. There are so many paths and every path is different for everyone. The dream is to continue with dance,” says Tori.
But for the time being, Tori is just excited to travel to Poland with a bunch of other talented girls that share her passion and that she has formed lasting bonds with.

“I am just really excited to travel to Poland and experience the diversity. I just feel like it’s going to be a really eye-opening experience where I can learn as a dancer watching other countries and nations and how they interpret dance as well.”

Participating in the World Dance Championships comes with a price, with each of the dancers responsible for financing and fundraising for the trip themselves.

Tori has set up several fundraising projects to help finance her trip. She is collecting vehicle batteries to sell for disposal and selling unique tuques. On November 18 and 19, Team Canada is holding their biggest fundraiser, a silent auction and raffle gala in Edmonton with dancers from the adult, junior and child teams in attendance.

Tori is looking to raise $5,000 to cover air and ground travel, hotel stay, rehearsals, coaches, costume fees and Team Canada jackets.

To donate to any of these fundraising projects, contact Tori at 403-564-4821.
October 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
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