By Mike LaBella
---- — Kylie Seymour of Bradford has been dancing on stages since she could walk, but nothing could compare to this.
Kylie, a junior at Whittier Regional High School, competed at the annual World Tap Championships in Riesa, Germany.
She was part of a dance troupe from North Andover which finished third in the world, bringing home a bronze medal from the December competition.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Kylie said. “It has inspired me to push myself harder than ever before. It opened my eyes to the fact that even though all of the people I was competing against may not speak the same language or live the same lifestyle, we all share the same love for tap dancing.”
Known as “the Olympics of tap dance,” the International Dance Organization event drew participants from more than 30 countries who competed in three age categories for gold, silver and bronze medals.
Kylie was among 73 dancers from Nancy Chippendale’s Dance Studio in North Andover to travel to Germany for the competition, which was Dec. 2 through Dec. 7. She competed in the age 15 and older (adult) team from Chippendale’s, called “Mad Circus,” which won the bronze medal. The junior team from Chippendale’s won a silver medal.
In another event during the five-day competition, Kylie was part of a small group in the adult division called “Kick the Can” which placed 19th in the world. She also assisted with a children’s group from Chippendale’s that won a gold medal.
“I was really excited about that,” she said.
In all, the team from Chippendale’s studio came home with five gold medals, three silver and two bronze.
While in Germany, Kylie visited a school in the town of Riesa, where she spoke to students, comparing her teenage lifestyle to that of the Germans.
“They spoke English really well and understood everything,” she said. “They were fascinated by us. It was an amazing experience.”
She also visited sites in Dresden, Meissen and Berlin, including Checkpoint Charlie, a well-known crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. She met John Emerson, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, at a tree lighting ceremony.
“We told him we were the United States tap team,” Kylie said. “He and his wife thought it was so cool.”
Her father, JayR Seymour, accompanied her on the trip, while her mother, Kim Seymour and brother Zach, 11, watched a live stream of the competition on a computer at the family’s Bradford home.
“They have been there every step of the way, always driving me everywhere to performances, classes and competitions and cheering for me at every one,” Kylie said of her family.
In addition to practicing on Sunday mornings in preparation for the competition in Germany, Kylie is a student teacher at Chippendale’s and also attends dance classes there five days a week. She also works part time as a teacher’s assistant at Little Sprouts learning center for young children in Haverhill.
Recently, she had the opportunity to enroll in challenging masters classes at Chippendale’s with instructor Chloe Arnold, whom she greatly admires.
“She gives me motivational tips and tells me great stories,” Kylie said. “Her classes amaze me and I always come out with a smile on my face. Tap dancing is my favorite. I love the rhythms and creating my own steps.”
Kylie studies Early Education and Childcare at Whittier, where she is an honors student. Her French teacher, Susannah DiMauro, said she was elated to learn Kylie would be visiting Europe. DiMauro attended a performance at the North Andover Theater which showcased the selected dances which Kylie’s team would perform in Germany.
“Her team’s performance was out of this world,” DiMauro said. “Their talent was unbelievable and they were so professional looking. I saw another side of Kylie that blew me off my feet. It was rewarding to see her on stage, dancing so well with her team. I felt so proud of her. I admired the stamina and perseverance she exhibited to get where she was.”
Kylie Seymour — non stop
Practiced on Sunday mornings to prepare for the competition in Germany
Attends dance classes five days a week
Is a student teacher at the dance school
Is a teacher’s assistant at Little Sprouts learning center for young children
Other Haverhill dancers who won awards at the World Tap Championships
Ainsley Corriveau, 2 golds
5TH PLACE FINISHERS