Sidney Cousins’ expectations are exceedingly high. The 11-year-old aspires to be Prime Minister of Canada and, rest assured, she will have fun in office while performing the important functions.
The Maple Leaf Public School student loves dancing and is a member of The Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT) which is in Glasgow, Scotland this week for the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival to celebrate the city hosting the Commonwealth Games later this month.
Cousins has been dancing since age six.
“When I watched the Grammy’s and other entertainment awards shows, I was fascinated with the dancing and I knew it was something I wanted to do,” said Cousins, who enters Grade Seven in September. “I have a sassy girly personality and my favourite dance is jazz.”
The young girl singles out her father – former Jamaica firefighter Sid Cousins who works with a local car dealership – as her role model.
“He is always there encouraging and supporting me,” she said. “He is a very positive influence.”
Nearly 400 talented dancers representing 36 groups from the Commonwealth will perform at the three-day event that includes three nights of performances at Tramway, a showcase event by the choreographers of tomorrow, a dance film night and a photography exhibition.
The participants will also take part in workshops led by international artists and teachers.
“This is good exposure for our students,” said CDT founder and artistic director, Andrea Douglas. “It’s also an opportunity for them to interact with other young dancers from other cultures and countries.”
Douglas, a Toronto District School Board vice-principal, founded the CDT in September 1993 with the aim of nurturing the dance talent of children over the age of four. Offering a structured dance program with classes three days a week at the Driftwood Community Centre, participants are exposed to several dance forms, including Afro-Caribbean, jazz, modern African, hip-hop and classical ballet.
Five years ago, the dance troupe took part in the 11th Dance & Child International one-week conference in Kingston, Jamaica.
“That was a great experience,” said 16-year-old Alexandria Batchelor who was member of the touring party. “I love lyrical dancing but I developed a better appreciation for dancehall and Afro-Caribbean dance after my Jamaica visit.”
Batchelor, who has been dancing since age five, is enrolled in Earl Haig Secondary School’s Claude Watson arts program.
The CDT and the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre – a repertory company founded in 1980 – are Canada’s representatives in Glasgow for the event that runs from July 10-12.
By RON FANFAIR