A kindergarten student from Port Coquitlam is back home after clinching a top prize at the Vienna International Ballet Experience (VIBE).
Sophia Reid-Gantzert, a student at the Caulfield School of Dance in Port Moody, took first in her “mini” division for dancers under the age of seven, at the prestigious contest last month in Austria.
The six-year-old girl was accompanied by her parents, René and Kerri-Ann, and her teacher Cori Caulfield, who choreographed her dance solo that was based on the Valkyrie myth and set to Richard Wagner’s composition Ride of the Valkyries.
Her father René Gantzert told The Tri-City News this week the dance required plenty of strength as it involved several jumps and leaps.
Gantzert said his daughter — the youngest of six children — was thrilled with the win. “She was very cute,” he recalled. “She curtsied to absolutely everyone including the janitor. She was very happy.”
Reid-Gantzert, who qualified for VIBE after submitting a video, was also one of 27 competitors asked by the international jury to perform at the competition’s gala evening.
The night featured the Vienna State Opera Ballet with the Sommerakademie der Wiener Philharmonic Orchestra and was staged at the historic Volkstheatre, a facility built in 1889.
A student at Meadowridge School in Maple Ridge, Reid-Gantzert started dancing at Encore Dance Academy in PoCo at the age of two. She transferred to Caulfield in September 2014 and currently studies tap, jazz, musical theatre and ballet.
Reid-Gantzert began dancing solo only this year. Recently, she won her category at the Chilliwack Lions Club Music and Dance Festival; next up is the Surrey Festival of Dance and, this summer, a stint at a ballet academy in London, England.
As for her future, Gantzert said with a chuckle, “She’s six. She wants to be a ballerina and an archeologist all at once.”