A trip to Frankfurt, Germany early last month bore fruit, in the form of hardware, for Kiana Serr, Darby Steeves, and their Canadian national teammates.
Canadian dancers, including the two local 16 year olds, were in fine form at the IDO World Dance Championships.
Put on by the International Dance Organization, the competition saw dancers from across the world perform in jazz, modern, and ballet.
Canada was split into two teams: B.C. and Ontario.
Serr, who attends Grade 11 at Maple Ridge Secondary, was a member of the B.C. senior ballet teams that won gold in large group (Allegro in Two Parts) and small group (Breathe).
B.C. defeated Germany in large group and beat out a handful of other teams, including Ontario, in the small group competition.
Meanwhile, Serr, Steeves, and the B.C. large group jazz team came away with a silver medal for its performance of Run Boy Run.
Overseeing the B.C. dancers were choreographers Danielle Gardner (So You Think You Can Dance Canada) and Danielle and Josh Beamish (MOVE: the Company).
Serr's mom Kirsten said B.C.'s showing in the ballet World Cup event showed the quality of dance in the Lower Mainland.
"In the ballet competition, anything Team B.C. entered, they took gold in," Kirsten said. "It says a lot about ballet in British Columbia. You look at the list of countries and it's just astonishing. It didn't matter which category, if it was a solo, a duo, a group. whatever it was, Team B.C. in ballet took gold."
As a country Canada won 16 gold medals, double that of the next best finishers, Poland and Slovenia, who came away with eight golds apiece.
Serr described the experience as "really cool."
"It felt really good," she said. "It felt amazing. I wasn't that nervous because I couldn't believe it, quite yet. You know that feeling where you're kind of not sure this is actually happening? But I normally don't get nervous for stage. It's not really who I am."
Serr embraced the opportunity to meet other dancers from B.C.
Prior to Frankfurt, she performed with two of her future teammates in Ballet BC/ Alberta's productions of The Nutcracker and enjoyed their friendship as a result.
With the other dancers in her group, Serr had seen them at competitions over the years, but hadn't made their acquaintance until joining the team.
Serr and three other members of Tri-City Dance Centre in Coquitlam danced for Canada's senior team in Frankfurt.
"It was neat to meet all the other girls," Serr said. "It was really nice to finally meet some of these people and work in a team setting. You don't get an opportunity like that."
Serr didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing. She danced throughout the first day and spent most of the second day at the theatre, supported her chaperone's daughter who was performing.
She managed to squeeze a couple hours of seeing the city on the third day but by the fourth day, she was back at the theatre.
Serr estimated she was able to be a tourist for "one day and a couple more hours."
SILVER LINING FOR STEEVES
Steeves said her learning experience in Frankfurt was invaluable.
"I thought I knew so much about dance before this, but it just opened my eyes to so many more opportunities," said Steeves, a Grade 12 student at Thomas Haney Secondary. "It really renewed my passion for dance."
For the B.C. dancers, the colloquialism "strength in numbers" held true.
"In numbers, we had many more [than Ontario]," Steeves said. "Their formation had the minimal number. In certain categories like jazz, we had more numbers and we had what they [the judges] were looking for, I think."
Steeves is accustomed to dancing as part of a large group.
"At the beginning, it was kind of weird because I didn't know anybody but we warmed up to each other pretty quick," Steeves said.
Heading into the competition, B.C.'s jazz dancers had a mind-set about how they would fare.
"I would say we achieved our goals," Steeves said.
The provincial jazz team performed Run Boy Run in the medal round.
The three-minute dance was an interpretation of a nightmare belonging to the group's lone male dancer, Alfonso Banzon.
Steeves was also part of Canada's modern dance team that ended up eighth, just out of qualifying.
Steeves had plenty of time for sightseeing.
She performed Oct. 6 and 7, but prior to then, had a fair amount of down time.
"Most of the time I watched [the competition] because I love to support my team, but my mom [Maureen] and I took the train into Frankfurt twice and saw a lot," Steeves said. "I was very happy with what we saw."