The Steps Company Dancers had a successful tour down south over the March break.
They proudly represented their country and their hometown, as they danced their way from Disneyland, through Hollywood and all the way to Ensanada, Mexico.
The company, directed by Rhonda Michallik, has been working very hard since September on a 20-minute production number called “Oh Canada, Eh.” This piece, a witty montage of many styles of dance from classical ballet to hip hop not only showcased the talent and diversity of the Steps Dance Company, but also was a quirky and entertaining way to teach our neighbours south of the border a little bit about what it is like to be Canadian.
The dancers, 25 students ranging in age from nine to 18, started the tour with a performance in Disneyland’s California Adventure Park. Following that, and a highlight for many of the dancers, was going to Hollywood to take hip hop classes at the International Dance Academy studios, which is host to the rehearsals for the TV Show So You Think You Can Dance. After that, they boarded the Carnival Imagination, a cruise ship which took them from Long Beach, Los Angeles to Ensenada Mexico. Onboard the ship, they performed on the Dynasty Theatre main stage.
Volunteer mom, Sandi Jewell said the whole trip was a great way to offer the students some exposure outside of their small town. “It’s [our] way of giving the kids a different experience in the dance world.”
Every two years the the dance group embarks on a trip similar to this, instead of going to various competitions and shows, which happens every other year. This was a really unique and challenging experience for them, as they had to adapt to the movement of the ship while they danced.
Cruise ships are a very feasible form of employment for dancers out of high school, Jewell added, so giving them a taste of what that work would be like was great for the kids.
The dancers had to perform while the ship was stationary out at sea for the final day and while it didn’t make any forward progress it sure did rock now and then.
“They only really had one rehearsal,” said Jewell, “because of time constraints and after that early morning session they pretty much had to wing it, but they did great.”
The dancers said as long as they were moving they were fine, but when it came to balancing and holding a pose, the struggle was real.
“As an audience though, you couldn’t tell,” she added.
They are now back home to finish up their season. You can catch their “Oh Canada, Eh” production, as well as some of their other great work, on May 22 at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson. This show is a fundraiser for the Steps Dance Company Arts Scholarship fund. This scholarship, in it’s inaugural year, will go to a Grade 12 student to help them continue to pursue a passion for the arts. This year it will go to a JL Crowe graduate, however the company hopes to grow this scholarship fund each year in order to expand the program and be able to support multiple artists from the West Kootenay region each year.
Tickets for this show are available at the Capitol Theatre box office.