A young Merritt dancer is provincials-bound following a stellar performance at the Kamloops Festival of the Performing Arts, with 10 year old Alex Cavaliere landing a first place win in all five of her solo performances. 

Cavaliere, who has been dancing since she can remember, also appeared in nine other performances at the Kamloops festival. Soon, she will head to the 2023 Provincial Festival of Performing Arts in Penticton as part of the Merritt Performance Company to perform with her fellow high-calibre modern and contemporary category dancers in the 10-12 age category. 

“I love all of it,” said Cavaliere when asked about her favourite aspect of her dance performances. She added that watching the growth of her fellow dancers, which includes her family, is especially rewarding. Her advice for aspiring dancers: do your thing. 

“Yes, of course, if you want to try it then go and just be yourself, but still listen to the choreography,” added Cavaliere. 

“If they are giving you choreography, you can still play with it a little bit, unless they tell you to do it exactly a certain way.” 

Judges have told Cavaliere that she is a dynamic performer, bringing her dances to life with facial expressions and rigorously choreographed moves that evoke a spectrum of emotions, whether happy and sassy, or serious and sad. 

Before focusing on the upcoming provincial festival, Cavaliere took time to celebrate her younger sister’s first solo performance, which also took place in Kamloops. 

“She did tell me that her favourite thing about the Kamloops Festival of the Performing Arts was seeing her little sister doing her first solo on stage,” noted Liz Cavaliere, Alex’s mom.

Julianna, age 8, took the stage for her first solo dance routine at the Kamloops Festival of the Performing Arts to high praise, both from the crowd and from her family. Alex told the Herald that she felt a sense of pride watching her younger sister tackle the stage on her own for the first time.

“I was really proud of her, because I remember seeing her enthusiasm for practicing at home,” added Alex. “She was scared the first time she learned it, but when we told her she could perform it, she asked how many times she could perform it, and we told her, and she was like, ‘I want to do all of them!’”

Alex recalled watching Julianna practice her routine up to five times each day when she first began dance, noting her younger sister’s excitement for the same art form and sport that she loves. When it comes to her own practice, Alex spends approximately 8-10 hours in the studio per week, and plans to practice on her own time as well in the lead up to provincials. 

“I’ve been learning it since last year, so I have it pretty memorized, and I feel pretty confident,” said Cavaliere.

“I don’t want it to go away, so I’m probably going to practice it at home and try and do my corrections that my teachers gave me, so that I don’t get the same corrections.”