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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

MacNeil earns medals at Commonwealth Cup Dance Championships

Ten-year-old Jamieson MacNeil of Cottam earned two silver and two bronze medals at the Commonwealth Cup Dance Championships, which was recently held in South Africa as a member of Team Canada Dance Children.

by Sylene Argent

Ten-year-old Cottam dancer, Jamieson MacNeil, is no stranger to competing on the international stage as part of Team Canada Dance’s 11-and-under team.

  The young professional just returned home from competing in the Commonwealth Cup Dance Championships, in South Africa, having earned silver medals in the Acrobat and Tap solo classes and bronze medals for his jazz and show dance solos in the open 11 and 12-year-old division.

  This competition took place less than a year after MacNeil returned home with hardware from the World Dance Championships, which took place in Poland.

  The young performer, who dances with All That Jazz Dance Company in Chatham, was pleased with how well he competed in the Commonwealth Cup Dance Championships and all he was able to learn through watching other performers and through the many workshops held. He was especially pleased with the outcome in the show dance category as this was the first time he has competed in that division.

  The top-notch outcome was also special to MacNeil as he was one of the younger dancers in the category in which he competed.

  His mother, Annajayne MacNeil, who is a dance instructor, noted there were 14 competitors from Team Canada, who earned 12 medals, at the recent international competition. And, her son earned four of them.

  MacNeil also won a Judge’s Choice Award in Jazz as an overall outstanding entry for the day.

  MacNeil particularly enjoyed performing his Acrobat routine as the choreography was placed to one of his favourite songs, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

  “Everyone remembered it he said,” noting several people stopped him over the course of the competition to provide him a compliment. The routine was presented to him two weeks before the competition.

  The competition was not just about competing, it also offered plenty of opportunities to learn, too. MacNeil was pleased to participate in several dance lessons from master dancers who came from all over the world to help spread their knowledge of dance.

  His favourite dance lesson was the ethnic workshop, where he got to learn African dances.

  “The ethnic dance was the most fun as it was new,” he said. “The lyrical hip hop workshop was cool. It was fast. I had trouble keeping up,” he said with a large grin.

  “I met new friends from all over the world,” MacNeil said of his experience, and he has been able to stay in contact with some of those individuals, thanks to a social media. He hopes to see some of those fellow competitors again at future international competitions, perhaps at the next Commonwealth Cup Dance Championships, which is scheduled to take place in Australia.

  Competing in South Africa helped bring MacNeil closer to his goal of dancing in six of the seven continents in the world. He has now danced in three continents.

  While in South Africa, MacNeil, his mother, and fellow teammates took advantage of a safari tour that was located nearby and also visited a crocodile reserve, where the young dancer got to hold a baby croc. They also enjoyed a quick trip to the Eiffel Tower during a long layover in France.

 This week, MacNeil will continue improving his craft at a dance workshop. He won a space at the workshop as part of a scholarship from an earlier competition. He will take part in two, six-hour classes of dancing at the Canada Dance Expo in Toronto.   

MacNeil thanked those in the Essex and surrounding areas for the support he has received. He has received many well wished and financial contributions, which has been helpful in allowing the young dancer reach his goals and full potential.

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