Dancers bring holiday magic

Shuswap Dance Center students brought the magic of Christmas to the stage last week.



Shuswap Dance Center students brought the magic of Christmas to the stage last week.

Owner and instructor Carolyn Wonacott says the recital had to be presented in two evenings because the school has 150 students.

“It got to the point where it would have been too long to do a show – almost three hours,” says Wonacott.

The younger set, aged three to 10, danced a variety of styles, set to a wide range of Christmas music.

The junior version of the Magic of Christmas also featured selected dance numbers performed by the seniors so the little ones could see the level of dancing they could reach.

The Junior Creative Dance Program introduces youngsters to ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop and contemporary dance accompanied by a wide variety of music.

“It’s so they can figure out what direction they want to take in dance,” says Wonacott of what is purposely a fun introduction to dance. “Most of them figure out what they like pretty quick, but if they want to go into the more serious classes, I make them do ballet.”

Wonacott says ballet is something that 95 per cent will never go on with, but if they want to go into hip hop, jazz or contemporary, they need the ballet.

Wonacott says she likes to host a Christmas show because it gives all the students a goal.

It gives the new kids the opportunity to experience the stage and often that’s the hook that keeps them in dance, she adds.

Senior dancers, eight of whom performed in the recent Shuswap Theatre production of Mary Poppins, range in age from 11 to 18 and performed their own eclectic mix of genres on Friday night.

“These are the jewels where we get to see our children at their best, doing what they love to do, when the world is in such a mess,” Wonacott says of news broadcasts that highlight horror, war and negativity. “You go (to concerts) for two or three hours and get caught up in the joy; that’s what art is supposed to do. That’s why it’s so important.”