Jillian McNamara is living proof that dreams do come true.
The Brewster High School junior recently traveled to Riesa, Germany to compete against tap dancers from around the globe in the International Dance Organization’s World Tap championships.
At only 16 years old, McNamara returned home last week as a world champion after winning the competition.
McNamara, who has danced since she was two years old, trained for the competition since last spring, knowing she would be up against thousands of the best dancers from around the globe. She credits her success at the competition to her “love of dance” and the training she received at the Seven Star School of Performing Arts in Southeast.
“While tap is my favorite, dancing in general, including jazz and ballet, are also included in my repertoire,” McNamara said.
In just her category, McNamara faced off against 36 other participants.
“I was up against teens my age all the way to accomplished dancers in their 30’s–even professionals took part,” McNamara said. “I loved every moment of the week overseas and have made friends from Croatia, South Africa and England. I can’t wait to return next year. The dancing is outrageous and amazing as is the entire experience.”
What made McNamara’s feat even more amazing was that she had previously won gold medals in both the children and junior categories of the competition, making her the first female competitor in the history of the World Tap Championships to win all three age levels.
McNamara thanked her teachers for their guidance and love and credited them for their role in her success.
“I wouldn’t have achieved what I have accomplished without their support and direction,” McNamara said.
Donna and Nicole Aravena, owners of the Seven Star school, praised the world champion.
When asked about her experience with McNamara, Donna called her “amazing.”
“She not only dances but teaches for us and loves working with our youngest boys and girls,” Donna Aravena said. “She is a world champion in many respects. Jillian worked for her title.”
Nicole, Jillian’s teacher, described the champ as being “extremely determined, hardworking and the most humbled student” she had ever met.
“This is what keeps Jillian going–a willingness to realize that people are out there who are better than she,” Nicole Aravena said. “Jillian never stops achieving the next level and that’s why we are all so proud of her effort. She is awesome, but Jillian realizes there is more awesome to be had. Jillian McNamara has a great future.”