A Nanaimo teenager has become a world champion in highland dancing.
Annalize Lam of the Brigadoon Dance Academy was the big winner in the junior division in Highland Dance last weekend at the Cowal Gathering in Dunoon, Scotland.
The 17-year-old finished first in the fling, first in the sword dance, sixth in the seann triubhas and fifth in the reel and the combined results came in first.
Lam, in an email interview with the News Bulletin, said it was unreal to be world champion.
“The Junior World Championship title exceeded all my expectations,” she said. “The competition is so tough that you never know how you’re going to rank.”
She described stepping onto the famous Cowal stage as an incredible experience, and hearing applause there made her feel like she had “succeeded”. Lam’s technique was solid, her steps felt familiar, and she competed with passion and joy.
“I didn’t hold back at all. I felt like I had found my place; Highland dancing was exactly what I was meant to do,” she said.
After her dances were completed, she was one of the contestants to receive a “recall” on stage, meaning she had placed in at least one of the dances, so she was “over the moon” even before the results are announced.
“As a child, I dreamed of being world champion…” said Lam. “I thought I would become world champion when they announced my name, but now I realize that I became the champion over the years of hard work that I put in.”
All that hard work and dedication is now “100% worth it,” she said.
“I’m so grateful that I took the risk and put myself out there so I could have this experience of a lifetime,” she said. “I will truly never forget that day.”
Earlier in the week, Lam and fellow Brigadoon teammate Keltie Willis, 16, competed in the Commonwealth Highland Dance Championships. Lam won gold medals in both reel and seann triubhas, silver in fling and placed fourth in the sword dance.
Brigadoon Dance Academy instructor Diena Henry said in a message to the News Bulletin that she “couldn’t be prouder” of her dancers.