Dancers wrapping a successful year at The Dance Studio
Hours and hours of practice and dedication are paying off for young dancers as their dance season winds down.
Melissa Wallace, owner and artistic director at The Dance Studio, highlighted that this has been a particularly good year at her studio.
“It has been a really good year. There has been a lot of good morale and connecting between dancers,” she explained during a break between group lessons.
“There are lots of really good, supportive parents and dancers, and they’ve got a nice little community within the studio.”
Wallace has been at the helm of The Dance Studio since they opened in the Hillside Plaza in 2008, and for the past five years they have operated out of their 9th Ave. N.W. location.
She was excited by their competition results after attending events in Leader and Lethbridge before wrapping up at a home Swift Current event.
At the Leader Dance Fusion competition on March 4 and 5, The Dance Studio brought home 11 first place finishes, and they captured the Overall Senior High Mark Duo/trio Award plus the Senior Outstanding Duo/ Trio Choreography Award.
A dozen dancers performed solos, with four earning first, five placing second, and one winning third. Two of their three duos earned first place finishes. Also, among their seven groups performing, five earned first and one placed second.
A highlight competition was attending the Great Canadian Dance Challenge in Lethbridge on April 20 to 23. They earned five choreography awards and brought home 22 top three finishes while competing against studios from Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton and Calgary.
“It’s nice to go up against the studios that are training a minimum of six to eight or more hours a week. And they’re placing with them.”
The successful event was highlighted by a trio of solo first place finishes, a runnerup placing for one of their duos, plus five of their group routines captured first place.
The competitive year wrapped up on April 28-29 at the Swift Current Festival of Friends. Studio members earned 38 first place finishes, nine placed second, and six captured third spot.
A total of six special awards were earned by groups and soloists, a trio of groups captured Most Promising Awards, while 14 High Mark Awards were earned in solo, duo and group categories. In addition, dancers brought home three Adjudicator Choice Awards, a pair of Overall High Mark Awards, one Choreography Award, plus the highest mark of the entire competition went to the Lyrical Group “Elastic Heart”.
With dance students ranging in age from two and a half to young adult, Wallace feels that dancers deserve more recognition for their dedication over a long dance year.
“There’s a lot more than people know or think that there are. The kids work really hard,” she said.
“They learn how to multi task because they’re thinking about hundreds of different things while they’re doing one movement. There’s so many muscle groups and things at play, plus having to smile on top of it.”
And when they perform together as a group, all of the individual dancers truly adopt a team focus.
“It teaches them how to be a team. I don’t think people usually view dance as a team sport or activity as much as typical sports like soccer or basketball. When they do all of their group performances, they’re a team. If they miss practice or miss a class, it’s the same it effects the whole group. And then when they’re on stage they’ve got be able to work together and they’ve got to be able to work on the spot.”
Dancers also learn a variety of lessons and skills over the years, including discipline, organization, poise and confidence.
“That’s what dance gives you, it’s that discipline and being able to stick with it and follow through and just really give everything to your commitment.”
“All the ages that we’ve got here in the Studio this year have really good dedication.”
Their studio location is kept busy with classes in ballet, jazz, tap, Highland, musical theatre, acro (a combination of classical dance and acrobatic elements), pointe, lyrical, contemporary, stretch classes and cardio.
The dancers are now preparing for their annual studio recital on June 3 at the Living Sky Casino Event Centre.