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Here's What Keeps Claire Finlayson Moving

Claire Finlayson joined CCDT in 2016 and is currently in her second year as a Company Apprentice. Also a Grade 10 dance major in the Claude Watson Arts Program at Earl Haig Secondary School, Claire told us about what motivates and inspires her to keep striving for success as a dancer, artist, and young adult.

Photo by Francesca Chudnoff

What influenced and/or inspired you to audition for the company?

I started dancing around the age of 4, and I absolutely loved it. Then around the age of 6 I began competitive dancing, and it was fun for a while, but as I got older it started to become less appealing. I explained to a teacher there—who was then choreographing on CCDT—that I wanted more of a challenge, so she suggested CCDT. From there I auditioned through attending SunDance, and joined the Core [Apprentice] program during eighth grade. In grade 9 I moved to company apprentice, and I am now in grade 10, in my second year of apprenticeship.

Is there a particular piece you are most excited to be a part of this season? What makes it most exciting to you?

This year I am really excited to perform Against the Dark, because it is the first dance with the company that I get to be a part of, other than Nowell [Sing We]. The intensity of the piece makes me feel super strong and powerful, and allows me to be a different version of myself which I find really exciting.

How do you do your best to balance the training and performance demands of CCDT with school, family commitments, and the rest of your life?

I definitely have a busy schedule for a 15-year-old, but I think I balance my time to do just about everything a regular teenager does. If I have a big week ahead of me with lots of tests and assignments, I will finish all that I can on the weekend during breaks at dance and when I’m at home so that my week will be less stressful. Sometimes I’ll put off less important homework because I want to see friends, but I always get it done in time. The best way to balance school and dance for me is to use my agenda, because it helps me visualize what I have to get done.

As for family, I talk to them all the time, and I eat dinner with them as much as I can, because some nights I get back so late that they’ve already eaten. I dance a lot, but balancing everything isn’t bad when you know you have a dance family, too.

What skills do you think your training, performing, and overall experience with CCDT have given you that are transferable to other aspects of your life?

An overall skill I’ve learned from CCDT that I will take with me everywhere is to never give up. I’ve learned that going through rough times makes the good times even better, and that no matter the circumstances you’re always bound to improve. Improvement wouldn’t be possible if we all just gave up.

What's something interesting about you most people don't know?

I really love music, and singing, and everything related. I taught myself to play guitar and ukulele, and right now I’m working on the song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald.

Who is someone who regularly inspires you?

Someone who regularly inspires me is a YouTuber named Conan Gray. I aspire to be like him because his mindset is just purely beautiful. He recently came out with an album, Sunset Season, which I love with all my heart and relate to so much. He’s quirky and professional, which is what I hope to be some day.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of auditioning for CCDT?

My advice would be to jump right into the movement, and try your best. You might have not attempted some of the movement before, but if you keep an open mind the audition will be a great learning experience no matter what.

Claire's favourite quote:

All people smile in the same language.

Claire, third from left, performing a special preview of Against the Dark by Colin Connor at CCDT's 2018 Wintermission fundraiser event.

Watch Claire take the stage for her second WinterSong - dances for a sacred season, in which she will perform Carol Anderson's Nowell Sing We and Colin Connor's Against the Dark. WinterSong runs December 14 & 15, 2018 at the Fleck Dance Theatre. Click here for info and tickets.

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