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'Never give up': Area teen earns Canadian dancing crown

Marielle Shvaitser and her partner won the junior Latin, Ballroom and 10 Dance categories at the 66th Canadian Closed DanceSport Championships in mid April

Marielle Shvaitser just had herself a ball. 

The Bradford resident, 13, and partner Daniel Reunov, 14, won the junior Latin, Ballroom and 10 Dance categories at the 66th Canadian Closed DanceSport Championships in mid April. 

Marielle says she’s been dancing competitively since the age of two. And she also does contemporary, ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop styles.

“I’ve always been signed up for ballroom and doing everything at once,” she said with a laugh. “When I’m on stage, I just hope everything goes well. I put my best power into it, perform for the audience and hope that’s enough.”

The event, held at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, included teams from British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and Ontario. Shvaitser and Reunov will go on to represent Canada at two upcoming World DanceSport Federation events — in Standard (Ballroom) in Romania on Sept. 14, and in 10 Dance, which combine Latin (Cha-Cha, Samba, Rumba, Pasodoble and Jive) and Standard disciplines, in Slovakia two weeks later. 

In Romania, Standard will showcase some of the world’s best in waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz and quickstep techniques. 

At the Slovakia event, the team with the highest mark across all 10 dances will be crowned world champion, said Marielle’s mother, Elena.

“We’re extremely proud,” Elena said. “It’s huge results and achievements. They’re the best in Canada in their category. They’re proud to represent Canada.”

While she already rehearses most days of the week, Marielle says a trip to the worlds means she’ll be stepping up to practice “every single day.”

“We have to really get into it,” she said. “I’m obviously very nervous, but also very excited. I’m working my hardest in classes to prepare. It makes me feel strong knowing I’m going to represent Canada.”

When asked what advice she’d give to her younger peers, Marielle urges them to stand on their own two feet. 

“I would tell them not to try to look like others (or) match up to somebody else’s expectations,” she said. “Always dance like yourself. Always work your hardest. And never give up — you’ll make it there.”

Elena, who runs DanceHub ballroom and Latin classes for children, teens and adults every Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre, hopes Marielle’s win makes others eager to try the sport. 

For more information on the classes, call 647-284-4409.

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Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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