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PURSUIT: Newmarket dancer competing on global stage

12-year-old Ashline Copeland beat out more than 200 hundred competitors in Ontario alone to be selected to compete for Canada at the Dance World Cup in Prague next year

Competing on the Canadian national dance team is just a dream for most 12-year-olds, but for Newmarket's Ashline Copeland, it is now a reality. 

This past summer, Ashline auditioned for World Performers Canada and was selected to compete at the Dance World Cup in Prague next year. The international event features more than 50 nations and is the second most prestigious dance event in the world next to the Olympics.

The Grade 7 student at St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary school beat out more than 200 hundred competitors in Ontario alone and has earned the right to represent Canada and Newmarket on the global stage. 

“It’s really exciting, said Ashline. “Being selected out of all of Canada to join the team and meeting all new people and everything that’s happening is kind of crazy but a good crazy.”

World Performers Canada assembles a national team each year to compete across multiple dance disciplines at the World Cup. Ashline will now train with team Canada leading up to the Dance World Cup, in addition to the busy training regime she keeps with her local dance club.

Ashline has been dancing since 2016 and only started competing competitively in the last few years. She played other sports like soccer and basketball, but quickly realized that dance was her favourite sport. 

“I have a lot of cousins that did dance and I used to go to their competitions and I loved the feeling of it,” said Ashline.“I used to pretend that I was an actual dancer on stage when I was younger and I was begging my parents to get into it when I was doing other sports.”

Ashline also hopes her journey will encourage other Newmarket residents to take up dance and to realize the unlimited possibilities that a career in the arts can offer. 

“I just like the friendships that you make and the feeling of being on stage and working toward your goal and reaching that goal. It feels really good,” she said.

Chris Copeland, Ashline’s father, has witnessed firsthand his daughter’s meteoric rise in dance over the last few years. He has also seen a growth in dance participation across the country thanks in large part to the physical and mental benefits it has to offer.

“The other great part of it is the camaraderie and amazing friendships that these kids create with each other,” Copeland added. They call it a competition but you see a lot of the same kids at these competitions and you get to know each other and support each other.”

Ashline will also be out in the community in the near future hoping for donations from local businesses to help offset some of the expenses that come with travelling to Europe for the Dance World Cup. 

“She has a Team Canada sweater and when she’s out looking for donations ,she’ll be taking pictures with whoever is donating and will be tagging them and supporting their business,” said Copeland. 

Ashline and her father are also grateful for the support they have received from Ashline’s local club, iDance Studio. 

“They’ve been great to not just Ashline but to our family as far as helping her and helping her achieve her goals and exposure,” said Copeland. “Without them, we wouldn't know about this opportunity. Her primary instructor kind of said let’s go try out. My hat is off to them for doing what they do.”

Ashline hopes to one day become a professional dancer and do what she loves each and every day. Her ascent suggests that will one day become her reality.