Take one talented teen and an opportunity of a lifetime and the result can be magical.
For Coquitlam's Katheryn Isfeld, going to The Continent to participate in the dance world's version of the Olympics is a dream-come true.
The 16year-old will compete on the biggest stage she's ever been on in her young dance career as part of the 25-person Canadian contingent headed to the International Dance Organization's World Jazz and Modern Dance Championships in Frankfurt, Germany.
"I've never been to any competition at this level, so I'm just looking to have a great experience and dance my heart out," the Coquitlam native said.
"Of course it would be amazing to even place in a competition of this level, but you never know what's going to happen."
Isfeld will take part in three separate competitions - jazz, ballet and modern - while at the event, which runs Oct. 3 to 7.
In being selected as one of Canada's best in those disciplines, the Riverside Secondary student was put through the paces at a series of auditions in late July alongside the nation's top young dancers.
"It was definitely a nerveracking experience. It was my first real audition and everybody there seemed so amazing. I really didn't know what would come out of it," she recalled.
"When I got the e-mail telling me I made the team it was one of the most exciting moments of my dance career."
Performing since she was six, Isfeld's talents are spread across the dance spectrum.
She's involved in a number of disciplines - jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary and point - and this year alone she has shone at the competitions she's entered.
Isfeld won high golds in all five of her solo routines and a top group of the year nod at the Burnabybased Synergy dance competition last May, and a runner up dancer of the year award at a recent competition in Whistler.
That runner-up distinction earned Isfeld a $500 scholarship towards a two-week trip to Paris to train alongside other high level Canadian dancers and instructors from across Europe.
"It was a great experience," Isfeld said of the trip that wrapped up in mid August. "I met many amazing people from all over Canada and I got to dance with some great choreographers. I learned new styles of dance that I've never even heard of, but it was all so much fun."
As is the case with any high level athlete, dancer or artist, practice is the name of the game, and Isfeld's story is no different in that regard.
She's enrolled in School District 43's Elite Performers in Coquitlam (EPIC) program, which allows students who train at a high level in dance, music or sports the flexibility to manage their schoolwork while pursuing their goals.
Her training regimen normally consists of at least four to five hours of dance per day, split between a Vancouver-based studio and Port Coquitlam's Coastal Edge Dance Centre.
However, that pace has been ratcheted up to six hours of daily training ahead of the upcoming world championships.
"It's very, very hectic. I go to school and the second school is done, I go home to eat and go straight to dance," she said. "Some days I can't even come home to eat-we always joke that we live at the dance studio. We sleep there, we eat there, and we do our homework there."
As for her competitive and artistic future, Isfeld hopes to take to the world of teaching in order to give back to tomorrow's generation of dancers. Outside of those opportunities, she also hopes to dance with an established company.
"Dancing a great emotional output. If I'm ever upset, I can express that in my dance and if I'm happy, I can express that side," she said.
"I have no clue where dance will take me but I hope it stays in my life. It is my greatest passion and I love it more than anything."