Whistler’s Soul Funktion Competitive Dance Team entered eight dance routines at the regional Dance Power Competition last week in North Vancouver. Seven of the multi-discipline dance numbers earned gold, to go along with one silver. Not bad when considering the silver routine was beat out by a team of their own dancers.
"We took home seven golds and one silver – only because (the girls) were competing against each other," said Codi Dalen, owner of Soul Funktion Dance Studio in Function Junction.
The 36-member team, comprised of girls and one boy, ages nine to 18 years old, competed in lyrical, jazz, tap and hip hop in two different age categories as well as two different experience levels: new and returning competitive dancers. All of the numbers were choreographed by studio teacher Heather Stremlaw, whose credits include the Aaron Carter U.S. tour, Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Show, and Live with Regis and Kelly, just to name a few.
Dalen was particularly proud of her junior members who were the only ones within the first-year division selected to perform in the competition finals. The jazz group Pump It Up earned gold.
"The younger ones really kicked back," Dalen said of the competition. "They really showed that you don’t need to dance for years to go out there and give it your all. They were a great inspiration to the rest of the team."
Returning Soul Funktion competitors, who took home gold in every one of their categories last year, continued to raise the bar on their performances. The group secured two of the eight final positions with their numbers, the jazz line Girls and the hip hop line Lose Control. The senior level group placed third overall at the competition.
"The older girls are learning the nature of self discipline," Dalen said. "They are beginning to see that to become good dancers comes from their own motivation and hard work. They are beginning to see all that hard work pay off."
Dalen credits the girls’ success to their sense of competition – with themselves.
"They want to beat their personal best," Dalen said. "I can see that personal competition is coming out. It is not a competition between schools or other dancers at the school, but their own self competition."
She also thanked the incredible show of support from parents, who she dubbed "dance moms". Parents supporting the demands of additional competitive rehearsals and detailed costumes made a big difference to both teachers and students this year.
The team will compete at the West Coast 5,6,7,8 Showtime dance competition over the May long weekend in Sun Peaks. The competition finals will be held over the July long weekend in Whistler. For the first time, a Soul Funktion adult team will compete in the tap category.
"They want to have a piece of the pie too," Dalen said. "Three out of the four adults don’t even have kids at the studio. They just love dancing and wanted to showcase it."
While the studio is abuzz with competition rehearsals, Dalen is also full swing ahead for the studio’s end of the year production, The Spirit of the Dance, June 9 to 11 at MY Millennium Place.
"The story is about a girl’s imagination, her journey to become a dancer and learning that to become a dancer comes from within – something we are trying to teach to our students," Dalen said of her 250-student studio.
Shows are June 9 at 7 p.m., June 10 at 2 and 7 p.m. and June 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for children. All of last year’s shows, even the dance rehearsal, sold out, so pick up tickets early.