Ready to perform

Dancers stand ready to start a ballet dance during a training class, May 16.

A year of hard work will be on display at The Dance Studio’s annual end of season recital.

The 11th annual A Touch of Class dance recital takes place at the Living Sky Casino Event Centre in Swift Current, June 1.

There will be two performances, with a matinee from 1-3 p.m. and an evening show from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are available at Pharmasave at $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children.

“The recital is our year-end finale where all the dancers get to perform on stage, from our littlest ones, two-and-a-half years old, to our graduating dancers,” studio owner and instructor Melissa Wallace said. “They all perform at least once and some of them up to eight dances on stage.”

The event is a celebration of the art of dance and a showcase of the technical competence of students in different dance styles.

“They've worked all year on learning new steps and new dances and routines,” she said. “They've been working for months to perfect their routines, and this is where they get to showcase that in a costume with family and friends there and it's just for the joy of performing. It's not to compete or not for an exam mark. So it's a lot of work and they put a lot of effort into it, and it's a fun way to wrap up their year.”

The recital is always well attended by immediate and extended family members and friends of dancers, but it will also appeal to anyone with an interest in dance or who wants to experience the joy of dance.

“We do have people who come in from out of town to watch as well, just anybody who enjoys dancing, and dancers always bring a lot of joy and excitement on stage,” she said. “So it's nice to share with our community.”

The group dances that were performed during competitions will be presented at the recital. Dancers also performed solo, duo and trio dances during competitions. These dances will be showcased during a separate event at All Saints Catholic School gymnasium on May 29, which will start at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $5 at the door. Donations will be accepted at the showcase for a local dancer, Amisha Hockridge, who needs to go to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, for specialized medical treatment.

“We've got some fabulous solos, duos and trios this year,” Wallace said. “That one tends to be a bit smaller, just because it's only one or two dancers on stage at a time. So the audience that they bring with them is a little smaller than a large group, but we definitely welcome everybody in the community to come. ... We're also going to be taking donations. It will be a great cause to raise some money for someone in the city plus supporting these other dancers.”

Parents are able to come to classes a few times during the year to watch their dancers in training, and sometimes they even participate and learn the steps.

“We've been doing the parent dance weeks for the last few years,” she said. “They do all of the steps right along with their dancers, and their dancers get to give their parents feedback. It's really fun for them and an interesting interaction, plus it helps the dancers to remember their steps better and think more about their technique when they see it on somebody else and they can give their parents that feedback. It helps them to grow and their parents get to watch and learn a little bit of what their dancers are going through every week.”

The studio has about 120 dancers this year, which is similar to previous years. It has been a busy year for them, with training, examinations and competitions. The year started on a high note in the fall, when some local dancers were part of Ballet Jörgen’s performance in Swift Current as part of the ballet company’s Saskatchewan tour.

“That added extra rehearsals for a lot of the dancers from September until the middle of November, and along the same time they were working on preparing for tap, jazz and highland exams,” Wallace said. “We finished off our exams at the beginning of December and then we had a break for Christmas. We came back in January and we were right into ballet exam preparation. We finished those at the start of February and we jumped right into preparing for competition.”

The Dance Studio had good results at competitions in Leader, Kindersley and Lethbridge since early March.

“All of our dancers did a really strong job on stage this year at each competition,” she said. “I was really impressed and happy with the teamwork that I saw from each group as well as mingling throughout our age groups. They were reaching out to make new friends from other studios at every competition we went to. So along with all their work that they put on stage, there was a lot of camaraderie happening behind the scenes, and that is always a great competition experience.”

All students age six and up up successfully completed a combined 145 examinations in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz and highland during the 2018-19 dance season. Below are the results from different competitions.

Leader Dance Fusion (March 1-3): Most promising solo – Aubrey Larochelle; Most promising duo – Brianna and Rachel Dash; Scholarship to Be Discovered Broadway Bound New York – Sophie Regier; 14 soloists competed – six placing first; five duets competed – three placing first; eight groups competed – seven placing first.

Kindersley Konnection (March 22-24): Highest mark Broadway group – Kindergarten Love Song; Highest mark ethnic group – Scottish Charge; Highest mark ballet group – Winter; Most promising medium group – Paper Dolls; Studio standout award – Sarajevo; $25 Scholarships for soloists – Payton Wiebe and Joanna Sacrey; Scholarship for To The Pointe Summer Intensive in Calgary – Mikayla Young; Scholarship for The Tap Dance Centre Tapperfest Advanced Class – Keanna Friesen; Scholarship to Be Discovered Broadway Bound New York – Sophie Regier; 19 soloists competed – three placing third, three placing second, seven placing first; seven duets/trios competed – one placing second, six placing first; 18 groups competed – one placing third, five placing second, 11 placing first.

Great Canadian Dance Challenge – Lethbridge (May 8-12): Melissa Wallace won five choreography awards as well as a scholarship to Dance Educators International; 20 soloists competed – two placing third, four placing second, two placing first; eight duets/trios competed – two placing second; 23 groups competed – three placing third, six placing second, one placing first.

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