You can dance if you want to

Creative Roots a place to cultivate both physical fitness and friendships.

Creative Roots head instructor and studio owner Amanda Dorscht. (Creative Roots photo)

By Roy Corbett

According to head instructor and studio owner Amanda Dorscht, the Creative Roots dance studio is a place where people can build self-confidence and social skills. A place where people can cultivate both physical fitness and friendships. It is a place where you can dance if you want to, while not leaving your friends behind.

“It really fosters creativity and the artistic love for the art of dance. Just a really great outlet for the kids. I find too, with some of the teenagers, that outlet from school, the stress of home, things like that, they just come to this studio and they are just able to move and do what they love and dance.”

On Feb. 14 through the 18, nine dance students from Creative Roots will be representing Smithers at a dance competition in Quesnel. This year, nine students from Dorscht’s studio will be competing against dance studios from other parts of northern B.C., like Prince George and Terrace.

For Dorscht and her students, victory in the competition is not an end in itself. Rather, she sees the event as a chance for her students to learn, grow, and experience joy in their craft.

“Most of my programs are recreational based, but we do have a competitive end which is the performing company,” said Dorscht. “There are nine kids involved with that, who go to various dance competitions across northern B.C.”

“It’s just for them to go and explore outside of Smithers. To see what dance is, and to see what things are happening outside of Smithers,” said Dorscht. “To receive that positive feedback to help them in their art, to help them grow in that, and also to see how they can improve and be better dancers.”

“They go and there’s a whole bunch of kids and they compete against their age category with their solos — let’s say a jazz solo for a 12-year-old will compete against seven other dancers in that same style of the same age-group — in front of adjudicators,” Dorscht explained to me. “So people are actually sitting in the audience and they are taking notes and they adjudicate and give the kids feedback on how well they are performing, the technique and things like that, the kids receive the feedback along with some scores and sometimes our kids are placed and sometimes they are not, but we just do it for the experience, for the kids to get out on stage.”

Before the contest, on Feb. 2 at the Della Herman theatre in Smithers, Creative Roots Performing Arts put on their annual Showcase.

“The Showcase is our annual competitive fundraiser. The nine kids who go to these festivals across northern B.C., we offer them an opportunity to practice on stage before they go and compete,” said Dorscht. “They will perform their solos and their duets in front of an audience, so when it comes time for a festival, they will have the experience under their belts.”

“I love the event because it gets the kids on stage before they compete. The first initial nerves they always get, they get it over with and they are ready, all fresh and excited to go to competition.

“It’s a great opportunity to support the local artists and to really encourage them to do their best when they go out to all these competitions. They are representing Creative Roots, they are representing Smithers. To have that local support means a lot to them.”

According to Dorscht, another great thing about the Showcase are how it helps the students. Admission is by donation, and that money goes into helping the young students achieve their dreams.

“All of the proceeds raised go to each dancer. It covers their entry fees for the festivals and their costume fees for the competitive year,” said Dorscht. “It goes right back to them and relieves the stress of the financials so they can just go and do what they love.”

The majority of Dorscht’s students study dance for recreation with only nine of her 300 students dancing competitively this year. And it is not just for children. Amanda Dorscht wants people to know that Creative Roots has classes available for various age-groups and styles.

“Ballet is our foundation, and then we offer the jazz and the tap. Then there’s the fun stuff like the hip-hop and lyrical and musical theatre which is singing, acting and dancing. For adults there’s the same thing,” said Dorscht. “A lot of people don’t know that we basically offer dance from ages two to adults. We’ve got a big program here, everything under the sun from ballet to hip-hop to tap to jazz. It’s for everyone and anyone. You don’t have to be the best dancer. It’s just to come and enjoy the art of dance.”

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