Maple Ridge dancer’s got talent

Ryan Morrissette and Freshh are heading to the Canada's Got Talent finals, while Nathan Knowles from Maple Ridge got knocked out

Maple Ridge dancer Ryan Morrissette (second from right) is a member of Freshh

Maple Ridge dancer Ryan Morrissette (second from right) is a member of Freshh

Synchronized like a well-oiled machine, Freshh explodes onto stage to thunderous applause.

For Ryan Morrissette, the hoots and hollers are like electricity, giving him a boost.

“We feed off the crowd. When people cheer it gives us so much adrenalin,” says Morrissette, one of seven dancers from Freshh, which earned a spot two weeks ago in the finals of the CityTV talent show, Canada’s Got Talent.

The hip hop crew, which trains out of Fresh Groove Studios in Richmond under choreographer Cezar Tantoco, is now preparing for the biggest performance of its life.

“Now that we’ve made it to the finals, it’s the best feeling I’ve had in my life,” says Morrissette, 17.

“It’s pretty much the chance of a lifetime. We don’t want to waste it.”

Comprised of dancers ages 13 to 17 from around Metro Vancouver, Freshh is one of the best dance troupes in the country. They’ve been training together for three years – creating a bond greater than simple friendship.

“We’re almost like brothers. When you spend five hours a day practising with people who share a common interest with you, and you just get along, it’s hard not to become brothers,” said Zac Vran, a 15-year-old from White Rock.

On a live results show April 3, the group learned it would compete in the May 13 finals in Toronto.

Since then, the crew has been working daily on a trio of one-and-a-half-minute routines they hope will win them first place.

Practice for Morrissette is sandwiched by two daily doses of medication that involves nebulizers and more than 100 pills to help his cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract.

“I’m taking complete care of myself right now because knowing what’s coming up, I want to be in top condition,” says Morrissette.

What distinguishes Freshh from other dance crews is the way they combine all styles hip hop into, what Morrissette describes as, a “colossal performance.”

The crew is now tweaking routines for the best impact on television.

“For TV, everything has got to be five times bigger,” explains Morrissette.

“The cameras are catching you from different angles and so there is no room for anyone to be giving less than one hundred per cent.”

“To make it this far is a truly great experience,” adds Vran. “This is our dream. We really want to focus on giving Canada what they deserve and that’s a great performance.”

• Canada’s Got Talent finale airs on City TV May 13.

– with files from the Richmond Review

Another local star

Maple Ridge’s Nathan Knowles made it to the semi-finals of Canada’s Got Talent but was knocked out of competition on Sunday.

The 16-year-old refers to himself as a circus artist.

The Thomas Haney secondary student began studying acrobatics at nine and currently trains and performs with Vancouver’s Underground Circus.

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