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Get to know London area youth dancer Rayne Willis

Get to know London area youth dancer Rayne Willis
Courtesy: The Dance Movement

LONDON, Ontario — The strength and focus required to be both an athlete and an artist, presents some of the biggest challenges for young competitive dancers, but for Rayne Willis, this is exactly what she loves when she is onstage.

Like most competitive dancers, Rayne–currently a dancer with The Dance Movement (TDM) in London, Ontario–is measured and marked at each competitive event. Continually learning new skills and concepts, dancers are encouraged to include these in their performances. In the beginning, Rayne found this level of scrutiny impacted her confidence, and when watching other dancers, she couldn’t help but compare her own performances or results.

“As dancers …it can be tough to be proud of yourself all the time,” admits Rayne, adding that while keeping her confidence strong is essential, her support team also plays a vital role. “When my dance instructor said, ‘Don’t let a mark cloud out all the progress you’ve made,’ it really helped me.” This practical advice prompted her to put less focus on others and opened the path to grow her own strength and skills.

Training, for Rayne, is as much a physical exercise as an emotional one, as she pours her emotions into each dance in the hope that the audience–and the judges–will not only watch her performance, but feel it. She has also taken to heart regular reminders regarding authenticity in a dancer’s performance; “If you are not feeling anything, the audience isn’t either.”

“I can be strong yet creative,” explains Rayne. “I not only express emotions but I show my physical ability.” She has trained hard and listened well. In a demanding sport that involves a lot of artistic interpretation, there is no doubt that self-confidence is essential.

“I always make sure I talk with my teammates before I perform, even if I have to make a few calls,” laughs Rayne. “I do this because they always hype me up before I go onstage and fill me with the confidence to perform my best.” She feels she is truly lucky to have this support, noting that when she is away, “It is not the same without them.”

Outside of dance, Rayne is like any other teen and enjoys spending time with her friends. She knows that this balance is important and saves time to just have fun, “… No matter how busy I may get!”

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