We have many excellent dance training programs on the Coast. That fact has been emphasized over these last few weeks while the dance schools have wrapped up their seasons with recitals. The Heritage Playhouse was packed full last week - as it usually is for dance shows - when Dance Works Academy offered a poignant farewell performance from two of the kids who have grown up dancing at their studio, teenagers Charles and Jenny Cottrell. The same scene was repeated -sold out shows and graduating teens -for the hundreds of dancers involved in the Coast Academy of Dance's stunning performances three weeks ago.As the kids put away the ballet slippers to concentrate on getting summer jobs, we're sure many parents are wondering, well, what was that all about? Was it worth the hours of rehearsal, the late night sewing jobs on costumes for the little ones who will wear them in the spotlight for approximately three minutes? Should we pay for Billy's or Emily's lessons next year?
But there's a moment when the kids are on stage that makes it all worthwhile. It's when the wee dancers, the ones under three feet high, shamble out and stare pop-eyed into the darkness for the very first time. Most forget their steps or wave their arms when they should shake their feet, to the audience's amusement. But if you watch closely, every so often, one of the young dancers suddenly gets it. The thought, "Oh wow, I'm in a show!" appears in their eyes, and you know those kids are hooked; they will continue to learn and improve. Maybe they won't audition with Ballet B.C. or become hip hop stars, but they will enjoy their lives experiencing the art of dance.
Heck, it's good training. Dance requires the dexterity of soccer, the rigor of a triathlon. It teaches the right foot from the left, gives a kid more confidence and balance. If you haven't been to a dance performance recently -or ever - check out the forthcoming Showcase of the Performing Arts in July or the Sechelt Arts Festival. You might get hooked, too.