Dancers at Arrow Dance Studio (ADS) in Castlegar are continuing to impress the public.
Eight dancers either took home a distinction or excellence award during a recent acro dance examination.
Acro dance uses a mixture of acrobatics and dance and helps to train dancers for stage performances, according to ADS founder Richele McEwan.
McEwan said the examinations covered every aspect of dance technique.
“Each skill in the examination was marked out of five, with zero being incomplete and five being excellent,” said McEwan.
“A cartwheel was one skill and they would have to have a starting position with pointed toes, shoulders down and their fingertips in the right way. Then, they had to land it with bent knees and a proper execution.”
The dancers are evaluated out of total score of 150, according to McEwan.
McEwan spent from Sept. 2019 to June 2020 training the dancers for the exam, which is typically held every summer.
Training the dancers through online video during the COVID-19 crisis was challenging but rewarding, said McEwan.
“The studio didn’t stop at all during COVID-19. We used spring break to prepare ourselves for the online classes,” said McEwan.
“During that time, my husband and I renovated our home to have a dance studio and we also upgraded our studio equipment. We knew we had a goal to works towards for the examinations and we just decided to keep moving there.”
Keeping kids engaged and utilizing a smaller dance space were some of the other challenges McEwan faced during the video training.
The dancers trained at least once a week leading up to the exam.
The exams were held at the dancer’s home through Zoom and acrobatic instructors were evaluating the dancers from across Canada.
ADS uses the Acrobatics Art program, which has been endorsed by Cirque du Soleil, physiotherapists and other professional acrobats.
Arianna Fehr, Fay Campbell, Anna Kozak, Danica Cox, Scotti Parker, Kaetlyn Hartleb, Shayla Parker and Bella Skinner received the distinction awards while Everleigh Lamont received the excellence award.