For years, Montana Valverde has spent most of her waking hours breaking a sweat in the dance studio.
Now it is all starting to pay off for the Penticton teen. Auditioning for a summer dance program in New York, the unbelievable happened.
“It was so insane and so cool I just couldn’t believe it. I was offered a full year of study at the Joffrey Contemporary Jazz program,” said Valverde. “Out of the dancers that come out of there, 90 per cent become professionals. It is something I have dreamed about becoming since I was little.”
Valverde is in Grade 11 and she plans on deferring the scholarship until 2015 after she graduates from high school. Now her sights are set on the Kiwanis provincial music festival where she will compete against the top dancers in the province who won the right to perform in Penticton June 3 to 7 after winning their regional festival.
There are over 32,000 dancers, singers, musicians and dramatic artists that competed in the regional festivals across the province with only one or two provincial candidates from each one selected for each discipline and age category to compete at provincials.
Valverde, who earned a honourable mention at the 2013 provincials, will be competing in the senior modern 3 category with two solos.
“They are very challenging because I have to be able to keep up my stamina. It is basically a workout these two solos,” said Valverde. “Contemporary dance is my favourite because it is so different from ballet which is a very formatted way of dancing. Jazz is pretty strict too but contemporary is more versatile and open to different movement.”
She thanks her teachers at Okanagan Dance Studios for keeping her grounded and preparing her for competitions and auditions. All of which will become key while she is in New York where she will spend nine hours of the day in class and as she competes at provincials.
“I am looking forward to representing my hometown. This is such a fantastic opportunity to have the privilege of competing against the best in B.C. here in Penticton,” she said.
The provincial festival runs June 3 to 7 at various venues across the city.
Among the 400 performers will be 16 locals including Valverde, Anne Lu – Junior Piano, Tiana Ferlizza – Junior Classical Voice, Adrienne Penner – Senior Classical Voice, Saige Carlson – National Classical Voice, Beamer Wigley – Junior Musical Theatre, Teigan Litke – Intermediate Musical Theatre, Jonathan Stuchbery – Senior Classical Guitar, Paige Prosser – Intermediate Speech Arts, Kyra Soo – Junior Ballet, Cheline Lacroix – Senior Modern Dance, Emma Hopley – Junior Stage Dance, Julia Ludington – Senior Modern Dance, Nicola Hopley – Junior Stage Dance, Brook Cumming – Senior Ballet and Alexis Brooks – Senior Ballet.
There are four closing concerts with the provincials honours concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Penticton United Church on June 5, the national music concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Penticton United Church on June 6, the dance finals concert at the Cleland Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on June 6 and provincial gala concert featuring all the senior category winners at 7:30 p.m. at the Cleland on June 7.
For more information visit www.bcprovincials.com.