Dancer with Strait area roots kicking up a storm

WINDSOR-ESSEX, ONTARIO: Jamieson MacNeil is a young man from Windsor-Essex with local roots and, in the very near future, will travel to South Africa to show off his fancy foot work on an international stage.

“He’s a big performer,” said Annajayne Hawley, mother of the 10-year-old dance star. “We train for technique and all of that all the time, but performance has to be something you’re gifted with.”

MacNeil will join Team Canada to represent the country at the Commonwealth Cup Dance Championships from July 16-20 of this year.

He was invited to attend the event following his visit to Poland last November and December. That was the site of the International Dance Organization World Championships, and Jamieson won bronze in Male Solo Jazz as a part of Team Canada’s Children Team.

Hawley, originally from St. Peter’s, is a Highland Dance teacher, and she introduced Jamieson to dance when he was just two years old. At the age of four, he was winning scholarships from dance teams.

“He always wanted to be in front of a crowd,” she said. “Jamieson has the goal of dancing on as many continents as he can.”

Jamieson also has some Inverness County in his blood, as his father, Angus MacNeil, is from Blackstone.

The dancer said he’s working hard to get ready for the trip to South Africa. It was during a practice session that The Reporter caught up with him and his mom, via phone.

“I practice between three and four hours a day, sometimes more,” he said. “It depends how I fit everything in.”

Jamieson is ready to face some tough competition but, after medaling at the world championship, he’s confident that he’ll have a good showing. With that, he said he’s just not the sort of guy to easily get nervous.

“I’ll have five dances,” he said. “One would be with a small group, and the rest are my solos.

“The competition will be pretty massive, but I’m feeling confident and I think I can aim for first place.”

Jamieson is flying out on July 11, and anyone wishing to help out with funding is welcome to visit his gofundme page at: www.gofundme.com/get-jamieson-to-the-world039s.