Last year was quite amazing for the Creative Roots crew, and this year is shaping up to be just as busy and exciting.
The Creative Roots sponsored dance team was once again honoured as for the third time in as many years, a Smithers junior has been named Junior Performer of the Year at the B.C. Annual Dance Festival in Prince Rupert. Jenna Rauch was 2010’s winner, who won $1,000 and for 2011 she’ll be looking forward to dancing with the senior winner of 2010.
“It’s quite an honour and it’s really exciting, and it’s a big deal, it’s the third year our studio has won,” Creative Roots Director Deidre Tansey said.
The B.C. Annual Dance Festival brought in numerous dancers from five or six different studios, so having Smithers consistently place really shows the commitment that these students have, that their instructors have, and the passion they share for dance.
Smithers students were also a big hit in the Triple Threat Dance Convention in Vancouver last fall, with Smithers own Cayra Tansey named Intermediate Future Threat winner. Put on by professional dancers, Triple Threat organizers work with stars such as Janet Jackson, and once a year over 1,000 students attend to not only practice and learn, but to compete if they so choose.
The dance-off, which Cayra was in, is adjudicated by well-known judges, one in particular from the show So You Think You Can Dance. For her win, Cayra received a scholarship and a week of classes in Los Angeles. It’s invaluable information to have, Tansey said, who get to look at their scores; where the judges thought there was some improvement needed, where they thought the dancer was doing really well. It helps them focus, Tansey said, but judges are also looking at the whole package and not just dancing technique: does the dancer look happy to be there? Are they comfortable on the stage?
But it’s more than just the competition, Tansey said. It’s about going out and performing, doing the best that one can and getting the feedback from it.
“Dance is a performing art, for the kids not to have the opportunity … The kids really want that chance to perform.”
It provides them the chance to look at other dancers, and what they’re doing, which is very important, Tansey said, and to be trained by other instructors, who all have different styles.
“Just to have that different style is very important,” Tansey said.
The experience as a whole does wonders to their self-esteem, and their sense of team work. This year they’re putting more of a focus on setting goals around personal bests. Quite often the girls have to compete against each other in these conventions, Tansey said. Competitive in nature, it’s quite a mature process to compete against one another during the day and then come together that evening for the group number.
“It builds a heck of a lot of confidence, and it’s an amazing opportunity for them,” Tansey said.
Katie Wertz was the Creative Roots Dancer of 2010. Based on their dedication, being a good role model, showing the most improvement in their dancing, Wertz exemplifies these qualities, Tansey said. Not only is she a great dancer, having been with Creative Roots for just some time, but she’s a great role model for the younger years, helping them out and hosting her own class on each Saturday.
“She’s very motivated, so it was very exciting to choose her,” Tansey said.
Two of their graduates from last year have gone on to larger things, Tansey said, showing once again that growing up in a small town doesn’t limit her students in one bit, providing they want it badly enough. Chantelle Pidherny graduated from the Creative Roots team and is now studying dance at the University of Calgary, and Bonnie Hughson is down in Vancouver and has been accepted into Harbour Dance Centre. With them she is dancing professionally, in commercials and other gigs throughout the city.
“We only had three people graduate from our program … and two have gotten into other dance programs,” Tansey said. “It’s pretty exciting for such a small town that we have kids going on to continue.”
With over 250 students of all ages, Creative Roots definitely highlights a variety of different styles, from ballet, jazz, ballroom dancing to contemporary, as well as a dance fit class for adults.. This year is the first time they’ve had an all-boys class for those ages three to five and it’s going amazingly well, Tansey said. Musical theatre, where the kids learn how to dance and act, are turning out to be very popular this year, with the largest ever number of students taking it this year.
“There’s always lots going on,” Tansey said.
For 2011 they’re already well underway with training and practicing for their upcoming recital. The Creative Roots Performing Arts holds a recital once every two years where all the varying age groups come out to show the community what they’ve learned, what they’re capable of. This year, the theme is called kaleidoscope. What it’s looking at is the changing of the seasons; with over 40 classes who will be performing an interpretation it’s bound to be quite the show.
At the Della Herman Theatre, the show’s planned for June 17 to 19.