My name is Glee Dango, 10, from Stouffville. I go to ON Elite Danceworx.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
According to my parents, I was always a very energetic child. Once I turned 18 months old, my mom registered me at the community ballet class so she could have a well-deserved break. My ballet teacher told my mom that I was good at following instructions and loved to dance. My parents didn’t think much of it until they saw my performance at the Chinese New Year celebration at pre-school, JingBao Mandarin Bilingual Nursery in North York. I was the youngest to perform on stage at age 2. I remembered it was a lot of fun to sing and dance on stage! I am so grateful for all the wonderful teachers who, not only taught me Mandarin, but also, introduced me to Chinese Folk Dancing.
At age 3, my dad registered me with The Dance Zone located in Woodbridge. I started with Jazz, Ballet, Tap, and Hip Hop. I was selected to join their competitive team at age 5, and I competed with my very first solo in Tap at age 6. I won a Special Award at every competition I attended as a Novice, and that gave me lots of confidence. Thank you to all my beloved dance teachers at The Dance Zone for believing in me. I am so grateful to have developed such a great base in dance!
The following year, we moved east, so now my second home is Elite Danceworx in Markham. I spend most of my spare time training and loving every minute of it. In the last few years, my passion and hard work have been rewarded with numerous special awards, including titles and scholarships from "The Dance Awards", "Nuvo", "Jump", "Candance" and "Breaking Bounds". Thank you, Elite Danceworx for helping me take my dancing to the next level. I am forever grateful for all these endless amazing opportunities!
I was also chosen to represent Team Canada Dance in Showdance for the Children Division at age 7. Our team competed against 17 countries in Prague and took home the silver medal. That was such a proud moment and an amazing experience that I will treasure forever!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Other than dance, I was always interested in trying other activities. I am extremely fortunate that my parents are so supportive. They let me try many different activities including Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Skating, Swimming, Snowboarding, Piano, Musical Theatre, and Circus. The hard part has always been to choose between activities as each will demand more training time, year after year. At the end of the day, I was always drawn to dance, so it wasn’t too difficult for me until recently.
I started modelling at a year and a half and acting at 5. I’ve done work in Film & TV, Voiceover, Commercials, New Media, Print as well as Fashion Runway. Finding the time wasn’t a big problem, until last year when I got a lead role on a TV Series. When I first got the news, I was so excited, but at the same time, I was frightened to think about how it would impact my dance. I am not going to lie, working full time, 9-hour set day, with 15-20 hours of dance afterwards each week, and trying to keep up with my schoolwork was really rough. I wanted to skip dance on many occasions, but my mom helped me get through it, and I loved her for it! Even though I was really tired going in, I always came out feeling accomplished and energized even after a long 12-13 hour day!
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I believe the only limitations are the ones you set for yourself. For example, with COVID and shutdowns happening since last year, it was so easy to stop and just do nothing. Thanks to Elite Danceworx, we were able to continue training regardless of the different stages of restrictions. It was not easy to stay focused via zoom, but I pushed myself because I knew eventually it would pass, and we would come out stronger on the other side.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I have been extremely fortunate that everyone around me is so supportive! The only thing that has limited me is TIME. I wish I could have more than 24 hours in a day to do everything I want to do. I know it is not physically possible, and it is fair that everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Time Management is key! Ensuring you spend your time on what’s important is not always easy, especially with all the distractions and temptations on social media and video games. My mom taught me to focus on my end goals and objectives, by asking the question, “Will this help get me closer to my goal?” By answering that question, I was able to get back on track and not waste time.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I stay away from the negative talk as much as possible. At dance, we are taught to be like the horses and put on our blinders. The blinders help us focus on our movements and not what’s happening around us, which helps us keep up with the music to stay on beat. I know it works, and I often use invisible blinders to block off negativity and stay focused on my own growth.
What is your favorite quote?
My favourite quote is from Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I love this quote because it reminds me that everyone is unique with different abilities. We should appreciate each other and remember that’s what makes our world so interesting.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Despite all the challenges we faced in the past year, I was so fortunate to continue doing what I love. I’m working on film projects like Dancing Through the Shadow of Mao where I play young Tia, and Odd Squad Mobile Unit on PBS Kids/TVO. I am also working on several other animated series including Pikwik Pack, Blue's Clues and You, Thomas and Friends on Nickelodeon, Disney Jr. and Treehouse. I can’t wait for all of them to air.
I also plan on continuing my dance training. Although we weren’t able to hit the stage for competitions or attend conventions since last year, I was still able to participate in some virtual events. I am super excited that I got accepted into the Summer Program 2021 at the National Ballet School of Canada in Toronto. I can’t wait to see what else this year will bring!