Dancers wrap­ping a suc­cess­ful year at The Dance Stu­dio

Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

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.

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