When Tristan Ghostkeeper took the Performer of the Year title at the annual B.C. Dance Competition in Prince Rupert last year it gave him the opportunity to participate in the Australian Showcase National Championships in Gold Coast earlier this year. He won the section of the competition called Battle of the Countries going up against Australian, New Zealand, and United States dancers.
"We were brought on stage for an interview and then we performed our solos and then we got the results and I got first for Canada," said Ghostkeeper, 17, who performed his lyrical solo. "The choreography suited me and I think my lyrical solo is my strongest and it felt good to dance it."
Riding the Gold Coast wave, he'll navigate his way through the 37th annual Prince George Dance Festival starting Saturday, while considering what's to come in the future.
"I really want to aim for New York because that's where the dance scene is big," said Ghostkeeper. "This is my last year in school and I definitely want to do a full year dance program somewhere, where they offer pre-professional training."
Some people have suggested he move on to Vancouver to pursue his dream but he said he wants to just throw himself at New York.
"Just to see what happens," said Ghostkeeper. "I still have to pick a style of dance because here at Judy Russell's we're offered everything and I'm not too sure what I want to do."
There's a commercial side to dance, he added, and a concert side.
"Ballet, modern, contemporary is the concert side and the commercial side is more of your jazz, lyrical, hip hop -- the stuff you see on TV ," said Ghostkeeper, who started dancing hip hop at nine years old and then moved to a variety of dance disciplines at 12 years old.
At the Prince George Dance Festival this young dancer will perform many times.
"I'm doing five solos and I counted 14 groups," said Ghostkeeper, who will cover several dance styles, including contemporary, modern, ballet, jazz, and lyrical.
Ghostkeeper is also interested in choreography.
"I am interested in creating the art, instead of always doing the art," he added, thinking of future endeavours. "I believe dance will always be with me."
The Prince George Dance Festival is held at Vanier Hall from Saturday to March 23 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day and showcases highland, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, tap, musical theatre, song and dance and world cultures. There are 486 dancers, ranging mostly from five to 18 years, with some adults performing as well, from studios throughout northern B.C. There will be 1,185 different dances performed during the festival, with about $22,000 in scholarship funding available for the dancers who can then go on to provincial competition.
Check out this video of Ghostkeeper's winning performance in Australia.
Tickets for the dance festival are sold at Vanier Hall. Weekly pass for adults $25, students and seniors $20, per session pass $5, day pass $10, family day pass $15. Cash only.