What: "The Colourful Life"
When: Friday, June 11, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, June 12, 1:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m., Sunday, June 13, 1:30 p.m.
Where: MY Millennium Place
Cost: $25 adults, $9.99 children
Corinne Haasen, Shalimar Fisker, Kiara Polito and Kaiya Nixon are just a few of the "sprites" featured in this year's year-end dance recital presented by Soul Funktion Dance Studios. Many of the girls in the ballet class, who are between the ages of five and six, have been dancing with the studio for two years, so this will actually be their second time participating in the big year-end performance; in other words, they're pros.
"At first I would be nervous, but then mostly you do no mistakes," Kaiya recalled, tapping her chin.
All agreed that this time around they are more excited than nervous for the year-end show, which is set to take place in less than two weeks.
"I really like ballet, because it's really fun and we get to actually have costumes - and it's really fun," Shalimar said, smiling and suddenly adding, "And then jazz is kind of funky!"
Last Thursday afternoon the girls had a chance to try on their costumes for the first time while they rehearsed their dance. They spent a few minutes prancing around in front of the wall of mirrors, playing with their flower-inspired skirts, fiddling with their headbands and armbands and making funny faces. According to Kaiya: "one of my favourite parts about the costumes is the sparkles, the roses, the headband and the puffy thingies!"
But when the music cued the little ladies were all business, twirling around the room and joining arms to rehearse their number.
"They're in a fantasy world, a magical world," explained Codi Dalen, founder and director of Soul Funktion Dance Studio.
Dalen started the business six years ago to house all types of dance in Whistler under one roof, in hopes of growing a healthy community of dancers.
"The ballet has grown tremendously, and that was a program that wasn't really in existence before the year we opened so that has grown a lot," Dalen reflected, "The dance troupe has continued to grow and move away from the competition and more to the performance side of it."
Though participation has topped off in the last few years, Dalen is starting to see dancers signing up for a wider range of classes, expanding their repertoire and knowledge of dance.
Now the students - almost 200 dancers who are enrolled at the school, from the tots to the adults, beginners to the performance troupe - are gearing up for their big "year end" show, where they'll finally have a chance to show their family and friends what they've been learning throughout the year. To anyone else this certainly doesn't seem like "year-end," but for the kids, the school and dance year is winding to a close.
"Each group gets to do a dance, and that dance becomes part of the entire show's theme and story," Dalen explained.
This year, the theme to the show is "The Colourful Life," a sequel to the performance troupe's show from December, "The Magic Within." The Seussical-themed original narration for the year-end was also created by artistic director Heather Stremlaw and Jeremy Thom, the creative minds behind the sold out "The Magic Within," a performance that was such a hit with the crowd and dancers that the creative team saw a great opportunity to continue to grow the storyline by turning the year-end show into a sequel.
"They created a story. It was based on a town that was called Dullsville - there was no colour, there was no creativity," Dalen said, "Through adding magic and colour and creativity they found the joy of life, but the sequel is a take on how we deal with that joy in life and all the colour and still the need to choose to belong and identify."
"In the end, the realization is that we are all connected and we are all colours," Dalen said.
To ensure there was a natural flow and feel to the two-and-a-half hour show dance instructors worked collaboratively on the individual numbers.
"Each individual teacher has choreographed for their classes, but we really worked with Heather (Stremlaw) because it has to have one vision," Dalen explained.
Dalen calls this year's performance "one of the Studio's most ambitious and moving productions to date, and should not be missed," and adds that one of the best parts of the annual show is getting to see how the students are progressing.
"I think every year the caliber of dance is growing, so for dance lovers it would be great to see them come and let me know what dance is getting stronger."
Tickets went on sale Monday and are available through the MY Place box office.