Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:18

Dancers preparing for annual recital

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Dancers go through a training routine with instructor Melissa Wallace during a highland dance class. Dancers go through a training routine with instructor Melissa Wallace during a highland dance class.

The Dance Studio in Swift Current is preparing for an annual highlight when students showcase their talents at the end of season recital, but the studio is also presenting various other dance events during the spring and summer.

The 9th annual A Touch of Class recital takes place at the Living Sky Casino Sky Centre June 3. There will be a matinée performance at 1 p.m. and an evening performance at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at Pharmasave at $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children.
The event will be a real spectacle of dance in different styles that is both a celebration of the art of dance and the technical competence of students.
“All the group dances that we did in competition will be at recital,” said studio owner Melissa Wallace.
Dancers also performed solo and duo dances during competitions. These dances were already showcased during an afternoon event at the All Saints Catholic School May 13.
“It makes the recital too long if we add in all the solos and duos as well as the groups,” she explained. “So we’re doing a separate showcase for them.”
The Dance Studio participated in a number of dance competitions in recent months. The older dancers, age 12 and up, competed at the Leader Dance Fusion on March 4 and 5. There were about six dance studios in Leader.
The Dance Studio placed first in 11 different categories (four solos, two duos and five group performances), second in six categories, a third place for a solo performance, and also received three awards (overall senior high mark duo/trio award, senior outstanding duo/trio choreography award, and dance jam scholarship).
The entire studio, from age six and older, participated in the Great Canadian Dance Challenge in Lethbridge from April 20 to 23. The Dance Studio was the only studio from Saskatchewan and there were about 15 studios, including dancers from Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
“Lethbridge was a different calibre competition,” she said. “The studios we were competing against, most of those dancers train a minimum of four hours a week, usually six hours or up to eight or 10 hours a week, and most of our dancers are training an average of two to four hours a week.”
The Dance Studio received five choreography awards at this competition and a number of medals (eight gold, six silver, and eight bronze). According to Wallace, the Swift Current dancers benefitted from competing at this level.
“It’s really good because that makes them really see and push themselves and see what they’re working towards,” she said.
All the dancers participated in their final competition. The Swift Current Festival of Friends on April 28 and 29 was hosted by the Backstage Dance Company. This event was attended by studios from the southwest, with dancers from Swift Current, Gull Lake, Val Marie and Shaunavon.
The Dance Studio received numerous medals and awards at this competition, including six special awards to groups and soloists, three most promising awards to groups, 14 high mark awards to solos, duos and groups, three adjudicator choice awards, two overall high mark awards, and one choreography award.
The highest mark of the entire competition was awarded to the lyrical group Elastic Heart.
Wallace is happy with the results from these competitions and she even saw dancers improve from one competition to the other.
“They did a really good job this year and they all progressed from each competition,” she said.
The Dance Studio opened in the fall of 2008. She has been dancing from a young age and became a class assistant when she was 12 years old. She started her own small studio in Oxbow, where she grew up, when she was 16. She was a dance instructor in various communities, including Halifax and Regina.
“I always wanted to go more the teaching route,” she said. “So I did do some performing but no big name professional shows or anything, because I knew I wanted to focus on becoming a teacher. … It’s great to be able to teach and see what kind of challenges you come across and what kind of improvements can happen.”
The studio has about 115 dancers this year, which is similar to previous years. The number of dancers will vary from year to year according to age group and the level of interest in particular dance styles. The dancing activities start in September, usually after Labour Day, and continue until June.
“In the fall, the dancers were working in getting back into class, learning new work,” she said. “We do a lot of exams in the fall.”
Thereafter they prepare for competitions, which usually take place from March to April, and then they get ready for recitals. The Dance Studio will present a new activity this year, with a family paint night at the studio (402 9th Ave. N.W.) May 26 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children and youth, ages three to 17.
“That’s going to be a family paint night at the studio, lead by somebody from the studio, and it will be open to anybody in the city,” she said. “So, it’s not just specifically for dancers and dance families. I think that will be a fun time and we’ll be showcasing some solos and duos as well.”
Dancers will still be active after the upcoming recital. On June 4, they will dance at the Innovation Credit Union Picnic in the Park in Riverside Park.
“We select groups or solos or duos that can fit on the stage at Picnic in the Park,” she said. “It’s the day right after recitals, so they’re still in performance mode, and I think we’ve danced there pretty much every summer since we’ve opened up here.”
Some of the dancers will also be on stage at the Lyric Theatre’s Chautauqua theatre festival in July. Last year, a few dancers performed before one of the plays at this festival and the Lyric Theatre is interested to have them back again.
The Dance Studio hosts various dance classes for different age groups, including adults, this spring and summer. There is an introduction to dance for young children, noon hour Bollywood and cardio dance classes for adults, an open ballet class for age 12 and up (including adults), as well as a summer dance school.
For more information about these classes, visit The Dance Studio of Swift Current Facebook page or contact Wallace by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Matthew Liebenberg


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