When Kennedy Knopf took her first steps in ballet at just three, she hated it.
Now, the 16-year-old is dancing to the beat of just about every form of dance, including ballet. And she will show the world her talent this fall as a member of Team Canada’s national dance team.
Kennedy, the oldest of three girls, auditioned for the team, “on a whim,” in Coquitlam in June after claiming gold at the provincials.
“It was kind of just for the fun of it,” said the high-performance Vernon Secondary student, entering Grade 12 this year, who has been training at Accentz Dance Studio since she was 10.
It was the last round of auditions and out of more than 250 dancers, Kennedy earned a spot among 19 on the senior dance team (ages 16 to 25). There are only 44 dancers in total.
“I cried,” admits Kennedy, who will compete against 23 countries in the hopes of winning titles at the International Dance Organization World Championships in Poland in December.
Her family is equally thrilled.
“She’s the only person picked in the Interior,” said mom Coral.
“It’s a huge honour, but it’s a also huge commitment and financial burden.”
To help Kennedy afford the experience, the family is hoping the community will rally around the local athlete.
“Anything will help: gas cards, food certificates, anything,” said Coral.
Kennedy has already been collecting bottles and doing whatever she can to raise funds since she will be travelling to Coquitlam every weekend between Aug. 30 and the world championships Dec. 10 to 14.
Members of Team Canada are elite dancers representing Canada at the championships, explains Bonnie Dyer, Team Canada director.
“Kennedy Knopf is one of the selective few that has made this team,” said Dyer, noting that dancers are eliminated until there is a final six, who will dance off for the title of World Champion.
“Representing Canada at the Official World Championships is a highlight in any dancer’s life.”
Kennedy is excited to be a part of the opportunity.
“It will make me a better dancer overall,” said the blue-eyed beauty with stunning red hair.
Kennedy performed as a solo back-up dancer during the Andrew Allen concert last year, she was also a Vernon’s Got Talent winner and is the only student at Accentz, and in Vernon, to be competing provincially for the past eight years.
Dancing is her passion, and life, and she is eager to find a future in dance.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to make a career out of it.”
Anyone who would like to help Kennedy with her journey to the world championships can contact her at Kennedy.TeamCanada@gmail.com.
A trust fund has also been set up at the Anderson Way TD Canada Trust: account number 6092242.