Sunny Sokolowski, 16, (from left) Kathryn McKay, 17, and Savannah Goncalves, 17, study dance at the Lake Country School of Dance as they prepare to compete with Team Canada at the ‘Olympics of Dance’ in Poland this December, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

Balancing school, dance an art of its own: Okanagan trio

Three Kelowna-area Grade 12 students honoured to represent Canada in international competition

Three high school seniors from the Kelowna-area say balancing life and dance is a challenge, but when you love something, you make it work. And Savannah Goncalves, 17, Kathryn McKay, 17, and Sunny Sokolowski, 16, have found their stride.

The dancers, who practise out of the Lake Country School of Dance (LCSD), will represent Canada at the International Dance Organization (IDO) World Ballet and Jazz Championships near Warsaw, Poland.

Goncalves, a Grade 12 student at Okanagan Mission Secondary, said the trio’s main goal is to secure gold at the IDO, which is considered the Olympics of dance.

READ MORE: Firing women up at first-of-its-kind Kelowna conference

Training is no walk in the park for the dedicated dancers with nearly 25 years of experience between the three of them. While many teenagers are soaking up summer’s rays on one of the Okanagan’s many beaches, Goncalves, McKay and Sokolowski are training and rehearsing, and when they’re not training, they’re travelling between LCSD and Vancouver to train with Team Canada.

“On choreography days, we’re dancing four to five hours on each piece a day for like a week,” Goncalves said. “Now that all our choreo is set, we’re going to Vancouver every other Sunday and driving back.”

But to be able to represent the country and learn a variety of styles from the some of British Columbia’s finest dancers is worth it, they said.

Team Canada consists of two groups of dancers; one from B.C. and another from Alberta. The LCSD students tried out in October 2018 and learned later that month they had been accepted. Now, almost a year later, they are putting the finishing touches on performances as they prepare to take the world stage on Dec. 1-9, 2019.

With school right around the corner, the dancers realize their schedules are going to get more hectic—especially with this being their senior year.

“Balancing school and dance is difficult,” straight-A Kelowna Secondary School student Sokolowski said. “You have to be self-motivated and there are a lot of late nights.”

“Our school district doesn’t recognize dancers as athletes,” Goncalves said. “At our school, we don’t get any support blocks, we just have to do it on our own.”

The three agreed, their passion leads to a lot of early mornings and late nights. But ultimately, this is just the beginning.

As this is the trio’s last year of competitive dance with their school, they are looking toward the future.

The girls are planning on moving to Vancouver next year to dance for a company together, while Sokolowski has his eye on Los Angeles, where he wants to pursue commercial work.

Each dancer had a different path into the craft; McKay’s mother was a professional ballet dancer and she grew up around dance and the stage all her life, so it was an easy transition; Goncalves wanted to be a princess ballerina when she was just four years old; and Sokolowski needed something to put his wild childhood energy into, but then he fell in love with the stage.

READ MORE: Estimated 10,000 people will visit South Okanagan during Ironman 2020

READ MORE: B.C. woman rediscovers love for her husband she couldn’t remember


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Savannah Goncalves (from left), Sunny Sokolowski and Kathryn McKay have nearly 25 years of dancing experience between the three of them. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

The three dancers from the Kelowna area are also preparing themselves for the last year of high school. (Caitlin Clow - Kelowna Capital News)

Just Posted

Kelowna’s fringe festival deemed a success

The festival has exceeded expectations, selling over 1,500 tickets

BC Wildfire Service to burn ten piles in Joe Rich

The service will begin the burning in late September and conclude by December of 2019

Motorcycle involved in multi-vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Kelowna

A man is being treated for injuries after he crashed his bike in an accident at Dilworth Drive intersection on Highway 97

West Kelowna’s stuggles continue as Warriors drop game in Merritt

The Warriors gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 Friday night

Kelowna Chiefs win in epic overtime battle in emotional memorial night to late owner

The Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read