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Newmarket, Aurora tap dancers to compete on world stage

Seven from Aurora dance studio competing in Germany this fall
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Aurora's North Dance Company is sending several dancers to the world championships in the fall. From left, Charlotte Geary, Madison MacLean, Cadence Fogliato, Fiona Lee, and Madison Jurgeneit. Dancers Madelyne Smirle and Charlotte Kilpatrick, not pictured, will also compete.

Newmarket resident Madison Jurgeneit said she fell in love with tap dancing after getting started with it a year ago. 

The eleven-year-old student of Aurora’s North Dance Company has quickly made an impression in her young dancing career. After a video submission, she will compete for Team Canada at the IDO Tap Dancing World Championships in November.

“I’m excited to go,” she said. “But I also think it’s going to be a big challenge, and I can say I’ve done it when I’m older.”

The North Dance Company is sending at least seven of its students, two from Newmarket, to the world competition this fall, at both junior and children’s levels. They will represent Canada East as part of teams of approximately 24 dancers.

Studio director Alex Herrington said it is very exciting for the studio to have so many competing on the global stage.

“I’ve had one student at a time go to the world's competition, but never so many,” she said. “It’s encouraging to know they are working so hard and they are taking their training seriously, and together, we can create strong dancers.” 

Cadence Fogliato is another Newmarket student at the studio. She said it is strange to imagine competing with Team Canada. The 12-year-old said she started dancing when she was five, taught by Herrington at a different studio.

“Since then, I really liked it, so I just kept going with it,” she said. 

Madison MacLean, a student from Aurora, said they initially auditioned for fun and experience, not necessarily expecting to make it.

“Our teachers are always pushing us to step outside of our comfort zone, and what better way to do that really than to try something new with a whole new group of people,” she said. 

The studio opened two years ago in the middle of the pandemic, August 2020. Herrington, who has taught in Aurora for more than a decade, said she felt there was a need for a new space to build a strong dance community.

“All of the families, they built the space. They painted the walls, they laid the floors, they were a huge part of being able to open” she said. “I’m really proud that in such a short period of time we’ve been able to train these kids to a place where they’ve made a national team. It’s not just me, it’s all of our teachers.” 

The group is going to compete in tap dance, but the studio offers all forms of dance, creating “well-rounded” dancers, Herrington said. 

Although there are some summer classes on offer, the students await the return of the dance season in the fall ahead of the world's competition. 

Aurora student Charlotte Geary said they dance about 10 hours a week, practising, and sometimes more than that.

“Almost every single day, training,” she said. “We love it and we have so much fun while we’re here.” 

The season will include some work with Team Canada training for the competition ahead. Herrington said Canada is known to be a strong tap dancing country and should be able to compete well.

“I’m excited to learn new choreography and make new memories with the team,” Aurora student Fiona Lee said.