STRIKE A POSE - Local dancer Claire Welikoklad

Local dancer brings home title from talent search competition

Claire Welikoklad earns runner-up spot in her division

  • Aug. 8, 2012 3:15 p.m.

One local dancer who was scouted and invited to compete at a talent search last month came home as the runner-up in her division.

Claire Welikoklad, 11, a dancer at Strive Dance Academy in Red Deer, did a tap solo called ‘Pretty Little Angel Eyes’ which was choreographed by Jaimie Bingham.

She was scouted at Dance Power Edmonton, a dance competition, by officials with Northern Star Talent Search. Northlands and Capital EX look for local dance and music competitions to partner with and be a sanctioned event for Northern Star Talent Search.

“I was really surprised when I found out. I was really excited,” said Claire, who has been dancing competitively for six years.

Claire was the runner-up in the Junior Division Final (ages nine to 12) of the Northern Start Talent Search at Capital EX in Edmonton, which ran from July 20th -29th. She competed in front a couple of hundred people in the dance/variety category on July 22nd and admitted to being a little nervous as it wasn’t strictly a dance competition like she was used to – there were also competitors in her same group who sang as well.

When Claire found out she had been named the runner-up in the competition, she said she was happy and excited.

“She was shocked too – her face was like ‘Really?’,” said Jodi Welikoklad, Claire’s mom. “We were so proud of her. I was so amazed and impressed. It was funny because with all of her training she was a bit nervous but when she got up on stage, with all of her dance background, she had no issues, she went on stage and did her solo. It was great.”

Claire was awarded an all day pass to Capital EX as well as $50 to spend as her award.

Produced by Northlands, the Northern Star Talent Search is open to amateur talent between ages five and 21. Advancing semi-finalists and finalists perform during Edmonton’s Capital EX and have the chance to compete in the 2012 Canadian Youth Talent Competition in Winnipeg, hosted by the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions. The Canadian Youth Talent Competition is hosted annually by the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions (CAFÉ) and celebrates the performing arts talents of Canada’s youth from coast to coast.

Looking to the future Claire said she “wants to become famous – a famous tap dancer.” She currently takes all sorts of dance classes including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and musical theatre.

“I like performing on stage and I like to move my feet. Tap is my favourite.”

Claire said dance has not only given her many opportunities but it also allows her to exercise, make friends, travel and to perform and have fun.

Jodi said Strive Dance Academy is looking at possibly traveling further with their dancers and competing in different locations.

“We’ve talked about competing more out of the country which would allow for some great opportunities.”

Strive Dance Academy has been operating in Red Deer for nearly four years. About 60 dancers attend the studio.

“Claire’s really lucky that she has a great studio. They do exams in all different disciplines and it’s a great opportunity for her to be able to dance there and have high-caliber training.”

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