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Swift Current dancer becomes first performer ever to complete advanced solo exam level

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Brianna Dash has spent the last 17 years trying to perfect her craft. Recently the Swift Current based dancer had an opportunity to show off her years of hard work.

“I love ballet because you’re always striving to reach perfection even though it’s impossible,” Dash told CTV News. “It lets you set goals for yourself and work towards something and once you hit those goals, you feel very rewarded.”

Dash is the first ever student to successfully complete the advanced solo exam in the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association’s (CTDA) ballet division.

The dancer is currently 20 years old, and her teacher Melissa Wallace has been with her from the beginning – watching 17 years of training culminate in the nationally recognized performance.

“She takes corrections so well and applies them, and has worked so hard to improve herself,” Wallace explained.

“Its been a real joy to see her finally achieve these higher advanced levels in these last few years and now to be the first one to do the advanced solo award is so rewarding. I have been teaching Brianna since she was three years old, so for her entire dance career and it’s been fantastic.”

“We’ve had lots of one on one time together and I feel like now even working with her as a teacher, we’ve grown together and we have a great relationship,” Dash added.

The duo began preparation for the exam in fall of 2023 and have been training weekly since.

“So the advanced solo award has a choreographed entrance and a port de bras adage exercise and a coda fancy turning exercise, all of which are choreographed by the teacher,” Wallace said.

“So I really enjoyed working with Brianna to create those exercises for her.”

Dash also performed a variation from Sleeping Beauty in addition to a Spanish Waltz done en pointe as part of the exam.

As for what’s next for Dash, she plans to stick around in Saskatchewan for the time being.

“I’m loving all of the connections that I’ve made,” she said. “I may end up moving somewhere else but for now that’s my plan. I’m hoping to continue learning how to be a better dancer and a better teacher.”

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