A Red Deer girl is nervous and excited to represent Canada at in an international dance competition next week.
Grade 10 Hunting Hills High School student Izel Pienaar, 15, has been dancing for eight years and this December she will be competing in the International Dance Organization’s World Ballet, Jazz and Modern/Contemporary Dance Championships in Poland.
Pienaar, a student at the Strive Dance Academy, said she was jumping up and down on her bed when she was named to Team Canada.
“I wasn’t expecting to get in,” said Pienaar, who will compete in the 13-15 age group. “I went for an audition in March during Spring Break and I heard back in July I was on the team.”
Pienaar has been travelling to Edmonton almost every weekend for months practicing with her team. With the championship right around the corner and a flight to Poland booked for Friday, she said the nerves are setting in.
“I’m super nervous because our teacher says all the other places around the world are so good, but I’m still really excited,” Pienaar said.
Pienaar was born in South Africa and moved to Canada when she was one year old.
After trying gymnastics and figure skating when she was younger, Pienaar decided to give dance a shot.
“I went into dance just to see if I’d like it … and after I did it for a year I fell in love with it,” she said. “I thought dance was really cool and different from everything else. I really enjoy it.”
Emilia Pienaar, Izel’s mother, said she’s very proud of her daughter for making it this far after just eight years of dancing.
“She’s been doing well every year in competitions and winning scholarships. She’s made a lot of good progress,” she said.
Emilia said she’s enjoyed watching her daughter’s practices with Team Canada.
“Watching the team they look really together cohesive and they get along well. It’s good quality dance so it’s very exciting,” said Emilia Pienaar.