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Young dancer steps into national contest

Victoria-born Angella Gillespie-Slaunwhite to represent B.C. at teachers' competition

A dancer since age three, Victoria-born Angella Gillespie-Slaunwhite will represent B.C. at the National Canadian Dance Teachers' Association Diamond Jubilee Dance Competition in Mississauga, Ont., in July.

"Angella is a very hard worker, very dedicated, with lots of potential," said Sheila Fergus, owner of Artistic Edge Dance Academy in White Rock, and Angella's teacher since the youngster moved there at age six.

"Other kids really look up to her when it comes to performing. She doesn't show any nerves. She's a real professional."

Angella, 14, won first place at the CDTA competition in Vancouver last month, performing a jazz piece choreographed by her teacher to the song Feeling Good by Michael Bublé. She will perform in the Intermediate Jazz category in Ontario, and has been awarded a $400 bursary.

In an interview from Whiterock, Angella said her goal is to dance with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet or go to Juilliard performing arts school in New York. "I have tried out for the Royal Winnipeg a few times, and they hardly take anybody," but she is determined to keep trying.

Meanwhile, her teacher is taking all her top students, including Angella, to Disneyland where they will perform. They will also dance at Cloverdale Rodeo and the Pacific National Exhibition.

Angella, who attended Wishart Elementary School, likes to dance in all styles, from hip hop and lyrical to ballet and jazz.

"I don't think I could choose a favourite," she said, adding she dances a minimum of 10 hours a week, and also takes singing and acting lessons. "I hope to become a triple threat."