Dance stars to shine at Calgary Stampede
Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 07:18 am
Three young Okotoks dancers will kick up their heels on the grandstand stage during the “greatest outdoor show on earth” this month.
Starcast Dance Academy dancers and best friends Mia Frostad, 9, Isis Macdonald, 10, and Shelly Murray, 10, made the cut for the Calgary Stampede Young Canadians to perform in the TransAlta Grandstand Show every night from July 4-13. The girls auditioned in January and have been rehearsing since February.
“It’s just a great experience to be working in the Young Canadians,” said Frostad. “It’s like one big family.”
Frostad, who has been dancing since she was two-years-old, said the choreography and rehearsals haven’t been easy, especially now that they’re practicing six days a week late into the evening.
“Some girls aren’t coming back next year because it’s taking up too much of your time,” she said. “I can handle it.”
Years ago when Frostad’s mom Brenda took her daughter to the grandstand show the youngster told the lady next to her that she would be on that stage one day, and now that dream has come true.
It is also a dream come true for Murray, who was cut in the first round of testing for the Young Canadians last year.
When she made it this year she was ecstatic.
“We just screamed all the way home,” she said of herself and her mother. “I faced-timed my dad and he was so proud of me.”
Murray said she felt confident after spending a year at Starcast Dance Academy, and she feels ready for the grandstand show.
Murray’s mother, Lindsey, said she first learned about the Young Canadians when she at the Calgary Stampede a few years ago and saw young girls walking around with Young Canadian jackets.
“It was always something I had in the back of my head,” she said.
With her daughter now in the grandstand show, Lindsey can’t help but feel proud.
“I was so excited for her,” she said. “She’s a fabulous dancer. It opened my eyes a lot to realize she’s as good as I thought she was.”
Macdonald’s mom Jaime is also excited to see her daughter on stage, but she’s not so sure she’ll be able to hold back her tears.
While her mom will be feeling emotional, Macdonald is confident she will have her emotions in check and won’t feel nervous.
“I’ve been on stage for a long time in front of a lot of people,” she said. Her last big performance was at a dance competition in Disneyland this year with other Starcast Dance Academy students.
Melanie Heemeryck, owner and director of Starcast Dance Academy, isn’t surprised the girls were selected to perform at the Grandstand Show.
“They are some of my strongest dancers,” she said.
Heemeryck said the trio was the only students from Starcast Dance Academy to audition this year and were among 16 selected from more than 100 dancers ages 7 to 11.
“Three kids from the same studio is a huge accomplishment,” she said.
This isn’t the first time her students made the Grandstand Show. Heemeryck said students have been selected in past years.
“If you’re a Calgary kid or anyone that’s grown up around the Calgary Stampede you’ve gone and watched at least one grand stand show,” she said. “I think every kid should be in the grand stage show at least if you’re a dancer. I just really think that whatever your culture offers you should take advantage of it.”
Heemeryck will be sure to catch her talented young dancers on stage at the Calgary Stampede.
The girls will perform two choreography numbers nightly and a shorter performance on the grounds during the day.
Tickets to see the grandstand show can be purchased online at cs.calgarystampede.com/tickets