Story by Dick Hildebrand
Photography by DaniBella Photography
THE DANCE...in a nutshell, that’s Cameron Wilson’s life. The 17 year-old grade 11 student at Walkerville Collegiate Institute is gradually gaining a reputation as a top teenage dancer. Born in Windsor, Wilson now calls Tecumseh home. He became interested in dance at the age of 4, when he saw his mother perform in a local version of ‘Chicago’ with Theatre Alive.
She had formerly been a member of the Edmunds Towers School of Dance in Windsor, a group that Cameron also joined and stayed with until two years ago. “I’ve never really had a job,” he explains “because when I get home from school, I usually have rehearsals and therefore a job really doesn’t fit into my schedule.” His career choice is also reflected on the curriculum he has at school. A morning jazz class, a personal fitness class and an English class is his typical day at school, usually followed by rehearsals.
With his goals and priorities firmly set, this young man leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind; he intends to be involved in dance, in one capacity or another, for the rest of his life. And he has the awards and accolades to back up his burning ambition! His achievements are many. Just to name a few — he’s won multiple Edge Performing Arts Centre scholarships in Los Angeles and at the age of 11 was named Junior Dancer of the year at the Tremaine National Finals. In 2014 he was a Teen Dancer of the year finalist. Based in Los Angeles, Tremaine is a major player in introducing potential young dancing stars to the public through its competitions and conventions which are held in different cities on weekends. In October, Wilson will be travelling to San Diego to perform a Contemporary Dance Solo in a major show organized by Mary Murphy, a judge on the TV show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Earlier this year, he became a Maximum Velocity finalist at a regional competition and will be heading to Las Vegas in July for another round of performances and the opportunity to meet and spend time with established stars in the industry. For a complete look at Cameron’s achievements log on to crwdance.com.
His dances range from contemporary and lyrical to hip-hop, tap, ballet and jazz. His favorite style is contemporary. “It has such a broad spectrum of moves. It can be very technical or it can have no technique at all— you’re just letting loose and having so much fun with it. It can be very dark and mysterious, or it can be light and happy. There is so much you can do with it.” Twice a year, Cameron gets a chance to show his abilities at the St. Clair Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Windsor and even though the audience consists mostly of family members and friends, it can be fairly large at times. So far in his relatively young life, Wilson has enjoyed travelling to various cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cleveland for performances and competitions. He does so at his own expense with the hope that one day he’ll make it big and earn a lucrative living.
At 6’2”, Cameron Wilson has the perfect physique for his chosen profession. He carries 155 pounds on his lean, muscular frame and ensures that he has the appropriate diet allowing him to keep up an enormously high energy level. “I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, drink a lot of water — nothing else and I get the necessary protein from turkey and fish.” As a member of the Dance Barre Elite Company on Rhodes Drive in Windsor, he normally rehearses for 4 or 5 hours when he gets home from school. Time off for Wilson and the 31 other members of Dance Barre is indeed a rare commodity.
Wilson is a realist. He knows that a professional dancer’s career is generally finished by the age of 36 or 38 when the body starts giving out, so one of his major dreams is to head up his own competition company and travel the world. “I love to encourage young people to keep dancing and to help them in the future. It’s just so awesome to watch.”
“Dance,” he says, “uses every single part of your body. It is physically demanding with preparation being one of the keys to success.” Cameron regularly does stretches at home, while he and the other Dance Barre students participate in an entire AB workout every Wednesday.
When he finishes high school next year, Wilson plans to move to Toronto and hopefully hook up with an agency that’ll get him jobs in music videos, tv specials and even movies. Chances are he won’t be going into post secondary education because his future in dance is what matters to him. “I intend to make this happen,” he says, “I wanna be out there!”
To date, he’s made all the right moves.