It turned out to be a journey from hell for a Fraser Valley-based team, which, especially under the circumstances, did very well at the IDO Hip Hop World Championships in Bochum, Germany.
Complications with Air Canada flights scheduled to depart from Vancouver International Airport caused the group of dancers and adult chaperones to arrive in Frankfurt â€“ about a three-hour bus ride from Bochum â€“ a day later than planned.
On Monday, Sept. 22, the team travelled to YVR at 5:30 in the morning for a flight that was scheduled to depart just after 9 a.m.
Their flight was delayed twice, to 10:20 a.m. and again until 11 a.m. before it was cancelled altogether due to a mechanical failure.
The team members waited at the airport, and were told they would be taking a direct flight at 2 p.m. to Frankfurt.
Unfortunately, that plan fell through, according to Lisa Dew, owner of Lisaâ€™s School of Dance in Langley, one of the studios where the dancers practised for the competition.
Finally, after a 17-hour wait, the group split into two and boarded planes bound for Toronto and Ottawa between 10:30 and 11 p.m.
During their wait in Vancouver, the group was offered two $10 food vouchers by Air Canada, according to Dew.
â€œIt was 13 hours in when they finally brought us some pillows and blankets,â€ Dew added.
Throughout the entire ordeal, the students were â€œunbelievable,â€ Dew said: â€œThey practised and hung out and were really good, considering everything that was going on.â€
In both Toronto and Ottawa there was an additional nine hour layover.
Air Canada provided them with hotels, with the one in Toronto just five minutes away from the airport.
Those who flew to Ottawa, however, bused to a hotel in Gatineau, Que., about an hour away from the airport.
Once they got to their ultimate destination, more bad luck awaited the snake-bit group. The fire alarm at their hotel in Frankfurt went off, and the building had to be evacuated.
â€œWe had to go outside with our luggage,â€ Dew said.
During the competition, the students shone.
Under the guidance of choreographer Paul Otterbein, the 18-member junior team placed fourth in a category featuring 24 countries, while the 24 senior dancers finished 10th out of 32 countries.
Dew said the team shelled out more than $200,000 for the trip, with each member paying $3,500 apiece to cover the costs. As well, each parent chaperone paid $2,500.
During the weekends and a few weekdays leading up to the competition, some of the dancers travelled from as far away as Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver Island to practise with the team.