By Jenn Watt
Twelve-year-old Sydney Parish comes down the stairs of her home near Haliburton holding two picture frames each containing several studio photos of her in her dance costumes. The images show her growing up and advancing as a dancer her form and flexibility improving until the last image shows her standing one leg stretching elegantly to the sky.
Dancing has been a passion for Sydney since she was two years old says her mom Stacey.
“She walked at nine months … she would dance whenever a commercial came on or any music came on. Everybody was like you’ve got to put her in dance and I’m like ‘hockey hockey’” she laughs. “We took her [to dance class] and she just loved it. She always used to say when she was little I’m going to own a dance studio. She’s known for a very long time this is what she wants to do.”
And so after years of taking every opportunity locally to dance Sydney is about to embark on a new adventure moving to Belleville to train at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada. She’ll be billeting with a family attending school and in the evenings and on Saturdays training in dance.
It wasn’t a hard decision for her to make. Following a three-step audition process including a summer dance program she was ready.
“It wasn’t hard [to decide] because I wanted to do it. As soon as I got accepted I got so excited and I was like yes right off the bat” Sydney says.
Quinte Ballet School will continue the years of training she’s had with Haliburton Dance Academy Heritage Ballet and Acro Alliance furthering her skills in hip hop jazz ballet and modern dance among others. Stacey and Sydney say they are deeply thankful for the teachers at all three of the dance studios. “Without them we wouldn’t be where we are today” Stacey says.
The Parish household is a lively one. Not only does Sydney dance but so do her two sisters: Addyson and Maya.
“My sisters and I love doing performances for my mom and dad in the living room” Sydney says.
“Oh yes” Stacey nods.
To expand her repertoire and keep active Sydney has kept a busy schedule in Haliburton of dancing five nights a week. And then when she gets home she dances some more.
“I do [practice at home] because I want to keep up my flexibility” she says explaining the importance of maintaining core strength good posture and keeping nimble and loose.
Applying for Quinte Ballet School of Canada was a three-step process. First they put in an application after that hurdle was cleared Sydney had to audition for the director.
“Then they told us it would be two weeks roughly before we found out [if she moved forward]” says Stacey. “We did that on Nov. 24 and by Nov. 26 she was accepted in.”
The third step was a three-week summer intensive which she completed in July. From there she was accepted into the professional training program. The intensive gave Sydney a taste of what was to come.
“I’m just super excited just to go there and dance” she says. “I had so much fun at the three-week intensive. I made so many new friends and I’m going to make new friends at school now too.”
Being two hours away Stacey says she and her husband Jason will be able to visit their daughter regularly and they’ll be connected by phone and Facetime.
Sydney says after attending Quinte Ballet School of Canada which will likely be a five-year commitment she might go on to post-secondary education in dance. Ultimately she would like to tour the world with a dance company.
“It’s just fun for me. It’s my comfort zone” she says. “… When I’m on stage it’s my time to shine. I just love to show everybody what I can do.”