Citrus Dance troupe represent the nation at StarQuest 2017 World Finals in Virginia Beach

July 27, 2017   ·   1 Comments

THIRTY-TWO LOCAL DANCERS made their way to Virginia Beach last week as they competed in StarQuest 2017 World Finals. Several dancers impressed south of the border with contemporary dance duo Samantha Clark (right) and Honour Stahl (left) placed first overall in the Quest for the Best contest, while seven-year-old Ella Godfrey (second left) finished fifth in the solo Quest for the Best contest. The trio pose for a photo alongside Citrus Dance Director and Owner Cecile Thomas (second right)

By Mike Pickford

A group of 32 young local dancing enthusiasts got a taste of international action last week when they traveled south of the border to compete in StarQuest 2017 World Finals.

The boisterous troupe, representing Citrus Dance Inc. in Orangeville, enjoyed a hugely successful week down in sunny Virginia Beach, VA, with several competitors ruffling the feathers of the world elite at the contest, which ran from July 17 to 22. The competition featured performances in all dance disciplines, including ballet, jazz, acro, musical theatre, classical and hip hop.

Numerous impressive finishes from a collection of the studio’s talented dancers put Canada on the map in the international dancing scene, and Cecile Thomas, Director and Owner of Citrus Dance, said she couldn’t be prouder of all that the girls accomplished at StarQuest.

“It was an absolutely unbelievable experience, for me, for the girls, for everyone. It was a phenomenal event,” Ms. Thomas said. “We went down there with the intention of competing, but we wanted to make sure everyone was having fun and I think we accomplished both. There were so many really incredible achievements.”

Chief among those achievements was a first place Quest for the Best finish for a contemporary dance duet featuring 14-year-old Samantha Clark and 17-year-old Honour Stahl, who received a huge trophy in recognition of their big win. There was another impressive display, this one from 13-year-old Dilena Nadan who did the local studio proud, finishing first overall in her novice soloist category.

Other notable finishes for studio dancers include: 16-year-old Brooklyn Mackie placing 8th out of 100 dancers for senior solo dance, Ms. Clark placing 6th out of over 150 soloists in her teen division and 13-year-old Brianna Heron finishing 13th out of almost 100 soloists in a pre-comp division. Ms. Thomas reserved special praise for seven-year-old Ella Godfrey, who placed fifth overall in the solo Quest for the Best contest with a “breathtaking” ballet solo.

“That is quite the accomplishment, for someone to place so high with a ballet solo… That almost never happens,” Ms. Thomas said. “But she knocked it out of the park. It was a fantastic performance. She received a huge plaque too, it was really special.”

With six group performances finishing in the competition’s top 20 team category, there was plenty for the girls to celebrate.

“They had a blast down there. They loved competing, of course they loved seeing where they placed and where they finished, but, above all of that, they just loved the experience,” Ms. Thomas said. “There were people there from Australia and other parts of the world – it was amazing seeing all these dancers gather under one roof. It was really motivating seeing what everyone is doing dance wise, what the competition is like. It inspired the girls to learn and push themselves even further.”

With such an incredible experience under their belts, Ms. Thomas is hoping to see her girls, and Citrus Dance in general, push on another gear now that they’ve all had a taste of international competition.

“We really have come so far since launching back in 2009… When people ask where we come from and how long we’ve been doing this, they’re shocked at the response. Eight years is not a lot of time in competitive dancing,” Ms. Thomas said. “But, through hard work, dedication and lots of technique classes we’ve really built a strong team here at Citrus, and it keeps growing year after year.”

More than 250 dancing students call Citrus Dance home today. And it’s not just for those into competitive dancing, says Ms. Thomas.

“We have an incredible recreation program too. That’s very important to us,” Ms. Thomas said. “It’s important to us that both our rec and competitive kids feel valued and important. We’re on big family here at Citrus. Whether you’re here for fun or you’re here to compete, we accommodate both. As long as a dancer is committed, they’ll have fun here.”

For more information on Citrus Dance, visit

Readers Comments (1)

  1. mk94 says:

    Congratulations girls!!! Awesome job!!
    A little disappointed that my daughter made the newspaper and her first and last name was misspelled >:(
    Breanna Huron is really Brianna Heron <3

    Mike Pickford 🙁


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