eet Shaunaughsey Meagher, 12, from Ontario, Canada: Studio Cirque and Dimensions in Dance.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began dance and gymnastics at 2 years old and my parents quickly realized I had a passion for both. At 6 I began both competitive dance and gymnastics and I competed in both until last year. After being accepted to Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal I decided to focus on the circus arts and dance with the goal of someday working for Cirque du Soleil.
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?
Things have not been easy at all for me. I was born very premature and had to take years of therapy for vision and coordination issues. It often took me much longer to get a skill but it taught me perseverance! Thankfully I have had wonderful coaches and teachers who were patient with me and helped me reach my goals.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I am very flexible and I had to work very hard to learn how to control it and not be a floppy noodle!
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I am very tiny! People often underestimate me because of my size! Also, people always told me I couldn’t do gymnastics and dance but we didn’t listen to them! I did both and loved every second! My gymnastics training was essential for teaching me perseverance and how to control my flexibility. It also prepared me for circus aerials.
How do you conquer negative talk?
To conquer negativity I find positive affirmations help and talking things through with my parents. My coaches and teachers are also great at helping me to develop a positive mindset.
What is your favorite quote?
There are two things you are in complete control of - your attitude and your effort.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
With the pandemic, my plans are to focus on training until things settle down. I want to continue to develop my skills and grow as a dancer and circus artist. I look forward to when I can be on a stage again!