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Local dancer wins Mr. CanDance title

He's Mr. Junior CanDance. And he lives in Humboldt. Dawson Keller, the 12-year-old son of Dayna and Al Keller, recently attended a dance competition in Regina.
Dawson Keller, 12, of Humboldt recently won the title of Mr. Junior CanDance in Regina, and will head to Florida to compete for the national title this summer.

He's Mr. Junior CanDance. And he lives in Humboldt.
Dawson Keller, the 12-year-old son of Dayna and Al Keller, recently attended a dance competition in Regina. They were thinking it would simply give Dawson an opportunity to see how his dance skills stacked up against other boys his age.
He danced three numbers on the enormous stage at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina May 20-22.
"It was going to be good experience for me, because basically it was the first time I'd ever done this," he said.
But what happened when all the marks were in shocked even his mother, who owns and operates DK Dance Visions in Humboldt.
Not only did Dawson earn a platinum standing - that's a mark between 90 and 94.9 - for his tap solo, gold for his hip-hop routine, and another gold for his song and dance, he also got a special award for his tap style, and a "I love musical theatre" award for his song and dance.
And at the close of the awards ceremonies, he was named Mr. Junior CanDance in Saskatchewan for his tap routine, which had a combined mark of 90.3 from the three judges.
"I was dumbfounded," Dawson told the Journal of his reaction when he won the title.
"I (just) wanted to compete to make sure I could hold my own," he said.
Turned out, he could.
"It was a complete surprise," he said.
How did it feel?
"I can't put it into words," he said. "It was pretty amazing and a little overwhelming."
Though her son has been dedicated to dancing since he started lessons at the age of two, Dayna was also completely shocked that her son was singled out the way he was at this competition. The competition, after all, was open to dancers from age 5 to 19.
"Out of all that, he got noticed," she said.
Six titles were awarded to six dancers - three boys, three girls - in three age categories. And Dawson was among the winners.
The win not only gave Dawson a title, but the opportunity to compete at a huge dance event in Orlando, Florida this summer and vie for the national Mr. Junior CanDance title against dancers from the United States and Canada. He will also get the chance to win scholarships and cash prizes at the event.
Dawson will perform his tap solo, to "Chicago" by Frank Sinatra in the national title competition, as only those who have placed first or second at Regionals get to enter it. He will also perform a new hip hop number he's working on, a lyrical solo and his song and dance number - "The King of New York" from the musical "Newsies" in a performing arts competition, also held at the convention.
"It's not just a competition. It's a convention," said Dayna.
In addition to dancing competitively in the evenings, Dawson will be attending classes throughout the day. In these classes, he will be learning numbers to perform at the awards banquet at the end of the convention, and he'll be marked on how he does in those classes, which will help determine his final mark in the national competition.
The dancers will get a chance to pick out of the five disciplines - jazz, tap, ballet, modern and acro - which they wish to be marked on.
They will be marked on how quick they catch on, and how easily they can stylize a technique, Dayna explained.
Dayna will also get to attend the convention as an instructor, which she hopes will benefit her own skills and give her inspiration.
Dawson will compete July 10-15. In the meantime, he plans to do odd jobs to raise money for the trip.
And he will be working on polishing each of his programs, both old and new.
While Dawson has always choreographed his own hip-hop routines, his mother has put together his other programs. So while he is working on a new hip-hop solo which will mash up two of his favourite songs, Dayna will be thinking of ways to add new, more difficult steps to his tap solo, to bring it up an extra notch for the national competition.
"I think it will be a good learning experience, no matter how he does," Dayna said.
Dawson has the same attitude. This is simply an opportunity, he indicated, to attend a higher-end conference and again see how he does.
"This is the next stage for him in what he does," Dayna said. "It's going to enhance his training so much. The experience will be worth it."
"It's going to be a huge experience," Dawson said, and a real opportunity for growth.