Resisting her dance instructor’s urge to take part in the first two International Dance Talent Pageants, teenager Arnelle Douglas felt the time was right when artistic director and choreographer Martin Scott-Pascall again approached her this year.
For her, the number three had nothing to do with third time being lucky even though it turned out that way for her. The 13-year old was prepared for the challenge.
“When I do something, I want to give of my best,” she said. “In my mind, I was not ready to be part of the event in previous years.”
With a focus on dance, the contestants in the Miss Teen and Junior Divisions draw dance genres which they perform for the judges.
Douglas, who has been dancing since age five, selected Caribbean dance.
“That worked out well because it’s a dance I am comfortable with,” said the Miss Trinidad & Tobago representative who also captured the Best Dance-Off and Directors Awards.
A Grade Eight student at Saint Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School, Douglas’ favourite sport is soccer and her aspiration is to become an actress.
Aspiring paediatricians Michelle Allicock, representing Guyana, and Miss India, Ciian Vassell-Johnson, were the first and second runners-up respectively in the Miss Teen category.
Allicock, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Henry Street High School in Whitby. One of three children whose hobbies include dancing and caring for children, she clinched the Photogenic, Best National Costume and Miss Ambassador titles.
A Grade Eight student, 13-year-old Vassell-Johnson attends Alvin Curling Public School in Scarborough and her favourite dance style is hip hop. A member of the Elite Dance Company, she enjoys meeting people and travelling.
Vassell-Johnson secured the Miss Friendship, Best Dance Talent and Best Evening Wear prizes.
The other contestants in this division were Miss Egypt, Jasmine Atkinson; Miss Jamaica, Tatiana Purge and Jolorn Samuel who represented St. Vincent & the Grenadines and was the winner of the Miss Popularity Online Voting Award.
Atkinson, 15, speaks French and German and is a Grade 10 student at Bowmanville High School. She intends to become a journalist or magazine editor. The first runner-up in the Mini Miss Jamaica pageant, 13-year-old Purge plays netball and aspires to be a professional dancer or choreographer. She attends McCrimmon Middle School in Brampton.
Enrolled in Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute, 16-year-old Samuel enjoys dancing, music, singing and playing the piano, drums and netball. Her career goal is to be a lawyer or dance instructor.
Grade Three student Makeda Joseph-Brereton clinched the Miss Junior Crown.
“She’s still floating,” said her proud mom, Ayana Joseph-Brereton. “She’s a very confident and outgoing girl who enjoys having a good time.”
The White Haven Public School student, whose hobbies include dancing and hair styling, won the Best Dance Talent and Evening Wear Awards.
The runners-up were Miss Canada, Kaia Cassells and Miss France, Gilliann Bucknor who captured the Miss Popularity Online Voting Award.
The second place finisher in last year’s Junior Queen Caribbean Carnival competition, Cassells trains with Dance Fusion and relishes dancing, drawing and reading. The Grade Six student at HA Halbert Junior Public School in Scarborough clinched the individual Best National Costume and Best Dance-Off prizes.
A Grade Seven student at St. Jean de Brebeuf Elementary Catholic School, 12-year-old Bucknor is a two-time recipient of the Fresh Dance Intensive Workshop Scholarship and an aspiring Math teacher.
Grade Five student Toula Florius, who showcased St. Lucia and was the recipient of the Spirit and Director Awards, 11-year-old Dayjanai Tyler-Archer, who represented England and Kiente Litchmore, Miss Brazil, were the other junior candidates.
Litchmore, whose interests include dancing, singing, acting and modelling, attends David Bouchard Public School and was the winner of the Miss Friendship and Photogenic awards while Tyler-Archer, whose favourite sport is dodge ball, trains with Children & Youth Dance Theatre and attends Lawrence Heights Middle School. A Grade Five student at Huron Public School, Florius aspires to be either a teacher or actress.
In keeping with its mandate to foster and promote dance, the pageant organizers awarded dance scholarships to Douglas, Joseph-Brereton, Cassells and Vassell-Johnson.