Dance is not always sunny when you’re male: Kelowna dancer

Sunny Sokolowski said bullying was an issue growing up on stage, but now he’s on Team Canada

Sixteen-year-old Sunny Sokolowski said ‘blocking out the hate’ was one of the biggest challenges for him growing up in dance. (Supplied)

A Kelowna Grade 12 student will be taking to the international stage in Poland this winter to represent Canada in jazz-contemporary.

Sixteen-year-old Sunny Sokolowski has been dancing for more than eight years, but it hasn’t always been easy.

Sokolowski has had to face ridicule and fend off bullies in the classroom because “dance is for girls.”

“For me, the toughest challenge is just blocking out the hate,” he said. “It’s really hard, especially when I was younger.”

“Everyone is just like, ‘you’re a dancer, that must mean you’re gay.’”

READ MORE: Balancing school, dance an art of its own: Okanagan trio

READ MORE: Three federal leaders march together at Vancouver Pride

He said he was picked on because he’d rather study jazz, contemporary and ballet instead of the proper maneuvers to tackle someone on the football field.

Sokolowski first started dancing because he had so much energy and “couldn’t stop moving as a kid.” And he fell in love with the stage and the spotlight.

“I didn’t see dance as any gender,” he said, in hindsight. “I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

“Then I started seeing this idea that dance is for girls and football is for guys and it’s difficult because I did play football and baseball prior to joining dance,” he said. ”I could have been a stereotypical guy, but I wanted to be different.”

Sokolowski said it was hard to maintain a sunny disposition in elementary and middle school where the teasing intensified, but now that he is in his senior year at Kelowna Secondary School, it’s gotten a bit easier.

It doesn’t hurt that he is also dancing for Team Canada—one of the most prestigious dance teams in the country.

“Now that I’m in high school, I think I’ve earned some of the guys’ respect,” he said.

His two teammates from the Okanagan, Savannah Goncalves and Kathryn McKay, will join Sokolowski will take to the international stage near Warsaw, Poland, in December 2019.

READ MORE: The off-season is over, Kelowna Rockets return to action Friday night

READ MORE: Firing women up at first-of-its-kind Kelowna conference

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Soccer legend Bob Lenarduzzi to speak about dementia in Kelowna

Lenarduzzi will speak at the inaugural Breakfast to Remember on Mar. 10

Kelowna RCMP arrest alleged impaired driver

The driver is facing potential charges after power pole collision

West Kelowna Warriors host Trail Smoke Eaters

The Warriors are coming from a Saturday loss against the Vernon Vipers

UBCO announces new top boss for Okanagan campus

Lesley Cormack will start in the position this summer

Nine West Kelowna athletes to go to B.C. Winter Games

The athletes will compete in biathlon and cross country ski

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

RCMP report woman arrested after ramming police cruiser

Suspect wanted for crimes allegedly committed in Kelowna, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

South Okanagan mountain bore racist name for a half century

Nkawala Mountain was initially named in connection with the deaths of two black men.

Most Read