Hailie Ripley and Elisa Collard, who have both been dancing since they were children, are off to the Big Apple thanks to scholarships they received after recent competitions. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Stettler dancers land amazing experiences in the ‘Big Apple’

Hailie Ripley and Elisa Collard will soon be jetting off to New York City

Stettler dancers Hailie Ripley and Elisa Collard will soon be jetting off to New York City for a week of amazing opportunities to learn, perform and meet with all kinds of top-notch industry insiders.

Ripley, 16, leaves for her adventure on July 18th and Collard flies out July 26th.

Both will spend one week in the Big Apple learning from the very best, taking part in inspiring industry chats and they also will have the opportunity to perform in some very exciting venues.

It’s an exhilarating and life-changing experience for both girls, who are absolutely thrilled with the opportunity. It came to them via scholarships following award-winning performances earlier this year.

“It’s a week full of training, and we have production numbers that we have to learn during the week,” explained Ripley. “At the end, I perform at the New Amsterdam Theatre in a production of Aladdin.”

Ripley, who has been dancing since she was two and takes lessons at JD’s Academy of Dance – Synergy in Stettler, received a scholarship through the Toronto-based ‘Be Discovered’ following a Camrose competition called the Sizzle Dance Festival back in April.

She specializes in a range of styles from ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary to some musical theatre and ‘acro’ which includes elements of gymnastics.

Her mom, Tammy, pointed out that the week in New York could also potentially open doors to further performance and work opportunities for both girls.

As for Hailie, dancing holds an endless fascination.

She said she loves everything about it. “I love performing,” she said, adding she knew early on that this is exactly what she wanted to do in life.

Collard won her scholarship at the Central Alberta Dance Festival.

“My scholarship is called the Triple Threat Intensive, so it focuses on dancing, singing and acting,” she explained. “I won my scholarship through my musical theatre solo.

“At the end of the week, after all of my training (in New York), I get to dance at the Intrepid Museum,” said Collard, who has been dancing since was four and studies at the Rhonda McCulloch Danceology dance school here in Stettler.

“I’m looking forward to the learning aspect, and to just putting myself out there, and getting out of my comfort zone,” said Collard, who specializes in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and musical theatre styles of dance.

She also pointed out how she and Ripley will be attending their programs with young dancers from around the world, so it will be amazing to get to know their counterparts from other cultures and countries.

Hailie agreed, adding how vitally important those industry chats will be as well.

“We get to take notes from people who have been doing this for a very long time,” she said. “So we can follow in their footsteps,” she said, adding she’ll be able to connect with performers from the Aladdin production on Broadway, as well as from the Frozen production.

Both young women, as mentioned, are thrilled with the opportunity, which will include a bit of time to check out the legendary sites of New York City as well.

But ultimately, it’s the dancing they both firmly have their sights set on.

“I love the expression of it,” said Collard. “When you have all of that emotion, it needs to go somewhere.

“Some people write, some people put it out there through sports. I think dance is such a good way to put it out there,” she added. “There are all of these different themes which can pertain to you.”


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