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Local Sylvan Lake Highland Dancer finished fourth overall in Halifax competition

Gracelynn Simms finished fourth overall in the Canadian closed and open championships
Gracelynn Simms, competed in the Scotdance Canada Championship Series Halifax which took place over five days where she placed fourth overall in the Canadian closed championships and the Canadian open championships. (photo provided by Jordana Simms)

Sylvan Lake local Gracelynn Simms finished fourth overall in her age group during the Scotdance Canada Championship Series in Halifax.

The five-day competition was the largest Simms had ever been to.

“It was a super exciting new challenge getting to represent Alberta. It was so exciting to see friends from all over and meet new people and it felt like the busiest five days ever. I thought I would be nervous in such a high-pressure competition but I was able to just have fun and enjoy the experience,” she said.

During the competition, the 988 dancers from Canada, the US, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Australia who competed were split into different categories based on age and different skill levels.

“To finish fourth overall in my age group for the Canadian Closed Championship was amazing because I was up against the top three dancers from each province and then to finish fourth overall again in the open championship where I was up against kids from Scotland as well was super exciting.”

The 13-year-old got her start in dancing since her mom, aunt and oldest brother were Highland Dancers.

“I grew up going to the dance studio and watching his classes and then trying to follow along so my mum decided to put me in classes. Because I was learning the basics so well from watching, my brother’s teacher who was going to be my teacher gave me special permission to compete for the first time when I was four, before I had officially started my lessons with her,” Simms said.

For the dancer, both the dance community and members of the general community have been very supportive.

“In the dancing community, I have many friends from all over and great coaches who help me strive to be the best dancer that I can be. I also have a great community of friends, family and neighbours who also help support me with fundraising and they are always there to cheer me on,” she said.

“I have been very lucky to have a lot of great teachers and coaches through the years. I am currently dancing with my coach, Miss Kate Cassidy from the Kate DeGood School of Dance in Michigan and starting with my new studio, Gillie Callum in Calgary,” Simms added.

While each year is different, most years Simms does 25 to 30 different competitions across Canada.

The next competitions for the dancer will be in Scotland next month where she will be competing for the first time at the Stirling Highland Games, Commonwealth Championship and the Cowal Highland Gathering which is the World Highland Dancing Championships where her goal is to win her first ever Cowal medal.



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Sarah Baker

About the Author: Sarah Baker

I joined Black Press in March 2023 and am looking forward to sharing stories about the local communities.
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