By Nicole Fitzgerald
What: Young at Heart
When: June 8-10
Where: MY Millennium Place
Whistler’s Soul Funktion Studio competitive team swept the board with top honours at the Peak Invitational Competition in North Vancouver.
Under the guidance of studio director Codi Dalen and choreographer Heather Stremlaw, the competitive team of 44 dancers entered 12 numbers, placing first in 11 entries. The 12 th number placed second — losing out to another Soul Funktion number.
“The feeling in the team is one of absolute joy and satisfaction that their hard work and dedication paid off,” Dalen said. “It feels great to be recognized and applauded by outside adjudicators. It makes all those hours and hours of sweat and training worthwhile.”
Soul Funktion is Whistler’s only formal dance studio hosting a variety of classes ranging from jazz and ballet to hip hop and tap for young and old alike. The studio also hosts a competitive team to challenge dancers looking for more specialized training and performance.
“The company has improved since last year in the way the team has come together as a real family,” Dalen said. “It has been amazing to watch how the older, more experienced dancers help out the younger ones. There is a strong feeling of mentorship.”
At the Peak Invitational Dance Competition Soul Funktion senior dancers tied themselves for first in the lyrical dance category — a very rare achievement. They also placed first in the level two and three division. They placed second and third in level three. Stremlaw won Best Choreographer for Peppyrock — a group jazz number cast with this year’s youngest and newest recruits.
Soul Funktion was also asked to perform not one, but two dance numbers for the final gala night. All 44 members of the dance team took to the stage with the Night of the Dancing Flames choreographed to the music of the Ballroom Blitz. The showstopper placed second overall. The studio received both a cash award and trophy.
“Several factors have contributed to the success of the team,” Dalen said. “The technical training combined with the determination and dedication of the individual dancers, plus their great attitudes really made a difference…. Parents’ contributions are also vital in supporting their dancers through hard work, not to mention the many hours of sewing costumes.”
Whistler audiences will have their chance to experience the award-winning numbers, including the massive jazz number Night of the Dancing Flames, the youngster favourite Peppyrock and the hip hop spectacle The Club. Each year Soul Funktion produces a year-end show that sells out every performance, including the dress rehearsal. A cast of 200 dancers from six to 60 will take to the stage that boasts spectacular performances, sets, costumes and spectacle.
This year’s production, Young at Heart, showing June 8 to 10 at MY Millennium Place, visits childhood’s happiest places. Audiences will stumble across alligators and bumblebees at a teddy bear’s picnic then venture to a seaside carnival, then play among lions, clowns and acrobats at the circus.
“Proceeds from the show will go towards the cost of a portable floor that can be used anywhere, enabling the Soul Funktion team to share their talents with more people here and outside the community,” Dalen said.
Tickets are $17 and are now on sale by visiting ticketmaster.ca.