Squamish teen ballerina to compete on international stage

Margot Lorette heads to Toronto from Aug. 20 to 29

It may only be her second international ballet competition, but 17-year-old Margot Lorette has a special song she'll be performing to — composed by her dad.

The Squamish-based teen originally rehearsed her solo to a different piece of music. But it didn't feel like the right fit for the choreography.

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(She has less than two minutes to show off her talent and impress the judges.)

After practice, Lorette's dad asked if she wanted to listen to his latest composition.

"I listened to it and just fell in love with it. As soon as I heard the melody come in, I just had this huge grin on my face," Lorette said.

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD)'s Genée International Ballet Competition will be held from August 20 to 29, in Toronto. Sixty-two young dancers will take to the stage, including 19 from Canada.

The 17-year-old has been dancing since she was three. After her family moved to Squamish, and Lorette had to leave the gymnastics program she was in, her mom noticed how much she loved to move. Dance became the next outlet for all that energy.

Lorette began with classical ballet, then branched out to ballet contemporary, modern jazz — everything, the young dancer said. Still, ballet remains her forte.

The Genée will be Lorette's second international competition. The first was this past February, at the Youth American Grande Prix in Las Vegas, where she landed in the top 12 of her age category.

She called the honour "incredible."

 The Royal Academy of Dance also hosts the RAD Challenge Competition, which Lorette performed in twice, earning top honours both times, and a scholarship to go to the RAD's summer school in Toronto. At the end of the summer school, her teacher told Lorette she hoped to see her at the Genée in a few years.

That time has come.

Lorette just finished three weeks at Montreal's summer program.

"I got back about a week ago and since then it's been very intense. Everything I do, every second of every day is in preparation for the competition," Lorette said.

She trains six days a week at the Dance Conservatory West Vancouver, dancing in a classic ballet and pointe class in the mornings, then hours of coaching through her two solos, followed by more independent practicing. Take into account the stretching, diet and sleep she requires and the days go by quickly.

All this work for minutes on stage at Genée. Her first solo is from a classical ballet chosen from the competition's pre-approved list. The second solo is the choreographed piece to her dad's song.

"That's a very special solo for me, definitely," she said. "Especially since I'm moving away from home next year."

Having her own composer to work with gave Lorette an even more in-depth role in bringing the solo to life.

"We went through the process of editing it and tweaking it together, so I really feel like it's a part of me. I'm really looking to performing that one," she said.

After the competition, the Squamish teen will move to Montreal, where she plans to attend CEGEP with École supérieure de ballet du Québec. From there, she dreams of joining a ballet company.

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