KOMOKA, Ontario — When we think about dance, it can sometimes be difficult to think of it as a sport due to its beauty. The reality is dance is a sport, and that takes an incredible amount of strength, cardio, flexibility, and conditioning to make it look so effortless. To bring a routine together, it requires months of practice and training to produce the polished outcome.
Stella Deeks (18), a Komoka resident, has been dancing for most of her life. Fourteen years and counting. Dance is more than just a sport to her, it’s her passion. She is driven to always be the best dancer she can be, and constantly pushes herself to work hard to reach her goals. One of her goals is to pursue dance professionally, and hopes to one day dance for recording artists, which would also combine her love of dance and her love of music.
Dance is also an art. It involves telling a story through movement with your body. Invoking an emotion from the audience. Stella admits dance has been an outlet for her to express feelings. Being on stage, hidden from the crowd through the blinding lights, allows her to really connect to the piece. It is an exhilarating feeling to perform. At practice, Stella can shut out the world, and focus on something she loves. Whether she is on stage or practicing, Stella always gives everything she has to her sport.
Stella is experienced in all types of dance styles. She competes as part of an ensemble, duets and solo. Being a member of a team has taught her about trust and communication. Her routines have included difficult elements like lifts, that require her to trust her teammates. Verbal communication is important in practice, but they must be ready and in position for the stage, and react to non-verbal queues. As much as being part of a team is awesome, and the friendships become a second family, one of the things Stella finds difficult is competing against people in her academy. Finding the balance of wanting to succeed herself and wanting success for others can be challenging. At the end of the day, they are a company and always want the best for one another.
Stella dances for the O’Neill Academy of Dance and has nothing but amazing things to say about her coaches and mentors. The best piece of advice she’s ever received was to dance like no one was watching. This takes a lot of mental focus. When she was a young dancer, she remembers an experience on stage when she started on the wrong foot, which threw her off and she blanked on the routine. Knowing she couldn’t stop, she improvised and finished. This experience taught her to never stop, no matter what.
As a recent graduate from Medway High School, Stella decided to take a year off before pursuing post-secondary education to work and further refine her craft. Dance is her world, and having this part of her future work-life would be extraordinary. Right now, she is focused on continuous development. Her talent, coupled with her determination will put her in the best position possible to reach her dreams.
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