If Heather Thom has one message for the residents of Whistler, it's that dance is for everyone.
"Our approach is that dance is for everyone and we have something for everyone to get involved in dance," she said. "It's not just for children that want to be dancers, we have adult classes, recreational classes - a lot of people in town are coming out of the woodwork and looking to get involved in dance."
Heather (formerly Heather Stremlaw) and her husband Jeremy are co-owners of The Vibe Dance Centre, which is just putting the finishing touches on their new facility in Function Junction. It will have a large studio, small studio, change rooms, office and a lobby/waiting area where parents can watch their children in classes. Heather is the centre's artistic director, choreographer and primary dance instructor, while Jeremy is the administrative director and will be teaching music classes in the facility this fall for guitar, hand drums and vocals. Also on the teaching staff are Chantal Smith, Maryna Turturika and Ken Yung.
Heather says dance is enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity, largely because of the top-rated So You Think You Can Dance? television shows in Canada and the U.S., as well as shows like America's Best Dance Crew. Dance is everywhere in popular culture these days, from movies to music videos.
But while the potential in dance has never been greater, Heather knows most people enjoy dance for fun, fitness and sometimes for performance.
"We just want to make the joy of dance accessible to everyone who wants to do it," she said. "We're offering classes in many dance styles and disciplines, for many different age groups and different levels. People can get involved in whatever they want to be involved in."
On the performance side, Heather is forming The Vibe Tribe Dance Team, and hosting a third audition this Saturday that is open to kids aged 6 to 18. The team, which is made up of experienced dancers that have already performed in Whistler, will perform at local events and create original shows for performance.
It's not a competitive team, says Heather, but will be focused on performing for the public at every opportunity while building towards The Vibe's year-end show in June.
"We want to get out performing because that's what kids love to do," she said.
The Vibe has also managed to land some special guests their first big workshop in Jazz, Contemporary and Hip Hop on Nov. 6, hosted by three past finalists from So You Think You Can Dance? - Canadians Vincent Noiseux (hip hop) and Melanie Mah (jazz), and America dancer Ellenore Scott (contemporary).
That workshop is open to everyone, but space is limited. Early registration is recommended by contacting The Vibe.
The new studio is located at 1212 Alpha Lake Road, Unit 1. Their website is www.thevibedancecentre.com. The complete dance class schedule is posted online, as are descriptions of every program.
Heather says there is still space available in many classes, including boys-only hip-hop, and sport-tech - a class geared towards athletes as a way to enhance their performance in other sports. The Vibe also wants to hear from any adults who are interested in taking drop-in classes.
For more information, contact 604-966-VIBE (8423) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.