Dancers pumped for opening ceremony at 2019 Canada Winter Games

For some dancers, like 55-year-old Alanna Smith, 2019 Canada Winter Games offers the biggest stage to perform.

For others like 17-year-old Mackenzie Smart, that big stage offers future opportunities.

Smith, a Red Deer resident started dancing in her 30’s in Calgary, but took a break from 2000 to about 2016. Today she dances with Country Pride Dance Club.

The dancer has been practiving about two to three hours a day, for about five days a week to prepare for the opening ceremony at the Games Friday evening.

Although not a professional dancer, Smith enjoys line dancing, 2-step, 6-step and waltz. But her favourite is country swing.

Performing in front of thousands during the 2019 Canada Winter Games stage sets a new precedent in her life.

“It’s one of those things whereby you know if ‘I can do this, I can do anything,’” the Red Deerian said.

“I’m very proud of myself in the sense I am able to participate and present it on national TV, which is something I’ve never actually thought of being someone who is on TV.”

Country Pride Dance Club president Rob Ironside said the dance club is taking part in two performances: at the opening ceremony and at Family Day event.

Apart from the club members, the public showed interest in taking part in dance performances, Ironside said.

“So we took them in and trained them,” he said, adding there’s 20 of them, and they’ve never done a show before.

“This would be a first time they’ve done a public performance.”

Smart, also a Red Deerian, will take part in three performances during the opening ceremony Friday. Between audition, selection and working with high level choreographers, the experience has been similar to one of a professional dancer – something that will add a feather step to her dancing resume.

“For competitive dancers like me who want to pursue dance later on, to be able to dance at such a largely viewed event is a huge opportunity.”

The Red Deer dancer is familiar with ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary styles of dancing, but her favourite is hip hop.

Smart said people can expect to see central Alberta dancers from different studios come together and work collaboratively for the Games.

“People will see different cultures and personalities of Red Deer come together and you will see how even though we maybe different, we’re are able to unite and represent the good aspects of the city,” the professional dancer said.

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