Simone Riddell provides this account on her summer experience as part of the Innova Dance Group.
Innova Irish Dance Company in Portstewart was offered the opportunity to perform at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada. Four Dominican students Lucie Hanson, Sophie Scott, Anna Mclaughlin and Reanna O’Neill were delighted to perform as part of the dance troupe in the journey of a lifetime.
We were waiting for this trip for years but it was postponed because of Covid. We spent the summer rehearsing and we left on the 23rd of August on a seven-hour flight from Dublin and got back on the 6th of September. We stayed at the Westin Harbour Castle which was right in the middle of the City. Every morning we got the streetcar to the CNE and had two half hour performances a day.
We spent the whole day at the CNE and met new people every day. Loads of people would come up to us and ask for photos. My grandparents even flew to Canada to see the show. A huge crowd gathered every day and after each performance we would go and get pictures with the audience.
We did some sight-seeing too- we went to the CN Tower, took the ferry over to Centre Island, and on our last day we took a boat trip at Niagara Falls.
Both the Irish ambassadors of Toronto and the CEO of the CNE came to watch our show and invited us to dinner. Although it was very tiring some days, and after many ice baths for the feet, it was absolutely incredible to get to represent Ireland on the international stage.