So You Think You Can Dance Canada has featured several talented dancers over the years, but in the third season of the popular dance competition which wrapped up last night, Mississauga was privileged to have been represented by contemporary dancer, Amanda Cleghorn. On last night’s results show, Cleghorn finished in the Top 2 alongside her original partner Denys Drozdyuk, but unfortunately finished the competition as the runner-up, just slightly being beaten out by Drozdyuk.
Cleghorn auditioned for the show when she was 18, and was given a ticket straight through to the finals after she impressed the judges with her incredible dancing. Cleghorn has stated that her inspiration for dancing is her sister, but always felt like the spotlight was on her sister rather than herself. She was chosen as one of Canada’s Top 22 and has since created her own spotlight, showcasing her talents for the entire nation to see.
Cleghorn attended Cawthra Park Secondary School, where she specialized in performance arts and was able to maintain an average of over 90 percent while balancing dance on the side. Cleghorn’s training is primarily contemporary, but she has also practiced ballet, hip hop, jazz, and theatre. She is most often complimented for her long arms and legs; she is able to manoeuvre her body beautifully when she dances. Mia Michaels, one of the world’s most esteemed contemporary choreographers, has compared Cleghorn to a gorgeous praying mantis because of the way she effortlessly soars across the stage.
Cleghorn has competed in 15 dance competitions across North America, has won Dancer of the Year at the 2008 Dance Awards, and has also appeared in the films Honey and Camp Rock 2. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Cleghorn managed to make it into So You Think You Can Dance Canada’s Top 2.
Cleghorn’s journey on the show was an extremely successful one; she was first partnered with Denys, a ballroom dancer from Toronto, and excelled in all of her performance routines. After tackling the tango the first week, the audience became well aware that Amanda and Denys would be a force to be reckoned with. Cleghorn also stunned the audience with a moving contemporary piece about a couple grieving the loss of their child, and an athletic, fast-paced Afro Jazz routine that was incredibly synchronized. She has been one of the few dancers on the show that has been challenged in almost every genre and always receives high praise from the judges. Cleghorn stated that her favourite routine of the season was Contemporary with Jeff Mortensen, in which she played the role of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She connected so deeply with the dance because her grandmother died of the same disease, and had a difficult time playing the character because she was forced to relive painful memories. However, she was able to create one of the most memorable routines of the season after fully committing herself and entering a different emotional level.
Cleghorn was one of the competition’s strongest and most popular dancers, and the fact that she barely lost after coming so close shocked many. Nevertheless, she walked away with a Mazda 2 Sport and $10,000, and there is no doubt that she will go on to even greater things. Congratulations, Amanda Cleghorn—you’ve made your hometown proud!