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Guelph dancer brings home gold from world tap dance competition

Anisha Chowdhury is the first female soloist to win gold for Canada at the competition since 2013

Without skipping a beat, Guelph dancer Anisha Chowdhury recalls her reaction to winning gold at the International Dance Organization (IDO) World Tap Dance Championship in Croatia.

"When I got it, I was in shock, like it still hasn't hit me yet, just what it is, but I'm really thankful for the opportunity and happy," said Anisha, who won the award for the solo female junior one category.

In November, Anisha travelled with Team Canada Dance to Europe to compete with over 250,000 dancers from 90 countries around the world. The 13-year-old was not only the first female soloist to win gold for Canada since 2013, but she was also the youngest female Canadian performer to do so since 2009. 

"She just turned 13 (while) there ... and she won gold," said Arpita Chowdhury, Anisha's mother. 

"She was also the youngest  (junior member) on the team at the time," adds Chayan Chowdhury, Anisha's father.

GuelphToday article from 2019 reported Anisha first went to the IDO World Tap Dance Championship in Germany at the age of nine. At the time, Anisha was one of two Guelph dancers to attend the event. The article describes the IDO competition as the 'Olympics of dance.'

"The first time I went it was way harder than I thought it would be," Anisha said about her first time going to the competition.

Three years later, Anisha was selected again for the Canadian team and performed in all six dance categories. For some routines, she only had two or three weeks to prepare due to the energy crisis in Germany which led to the competition switching locations.

"There were solos, duets and trios and that was all for tap," said Anisha, adding being there was 'crazy' and the competition was 'a different level.'

For the junior solo category, Anisha performed a routine to the song, Down by Marian Hill.  Arpita said her daughter was one of 28 contestants and thought the most amazing part was getting to hear Canada's national anthem while Anisha was on the podium.

"You only hear it when you win gold and she was the only gold medal for the team, the whole team, and everyone was crying, like it was such a proud moment," said Arpita.

Prior to the event, Anisha dedicated lots of time to practicing, including eight to 12 hour sessions. The family also travelled to different places across Ontario to support her practice.  

Arpita said her daughters' success from the championships stems from dedication, natural talent and having a good head on her shoulders, as well as the inspiration of her teachers and choreographers.

"To see the girls' growth is remarkable, I'm just impressed with what she has accomplished," said Arpita about the differences she saw in Anisha from when she competed in 2019 and now.

Anisha adds her team for the championship, and her team at the Waterdown dance studio DanceMakerz, have been really supportive on her journey to the competition. The dance studio set up a livestream of the competition to watch Anisha while she was competing.

"Definitely, my tap skills have grown throughout the years, but also my friendships have grown as well throughout the years," said Anisha.

"It was really important for me to know that my dance studio is supporting me because it's nice to know that they support me and believe in what I'm doing."

Starting with jazz, Anisha said she wasn't in love with tap when she first tried it, but then quickly formed a connection with the genre. Now that the competition has ended, she is excited to figure out her next steps and exploring the art form of tap in different ways.