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Shuswap Dance Centre brings home 23 awards from national competition

Seven dances invited to World Cup in July, Okanagan performances next for the studio
Shuswap Dance Centre dancers Paige Hughes and Kassidy Chernoff both performed at the national 5678 Showtime Competition in Lake Louise, March 23-26, 2023. (Contributed)

Shuswap Dance Centre brought home awards and accolades from a recent dance competition in Lake Louise.

The centre brought 21 dancers to Lake Louise for the 5678 Showtime Competition, March 23-26.

Dancers performed 30 pieces at the show and 23 of those placed in their categories. Seven pieces were invited to the Dance World Cup which takes place in Whistler July 1-6, and will have studios from across the globe competing.

The studio took home 11 first-prize awards, 11 second-place spots and one third-place recognition.

“Denis was a Bird” is the first piece going on to the World Cup, danced by Teagan Green, Eysten Martin, Taylor Czepil, Kassidy Chernoff, Ayanna Dawkins, Carly Dwornik, Micah Lowe, Kylie Roy, Paige Hughes and Esmee Austin and choreographed by Raelynn Sunder.

“Life Path 5,” danced by Green, Czepil, Dwornik, Hughes and Lowe, also choreographed by Sunder, also won the World Cup honour, along with Dawkins’ “Fourth of July” choreographed by Esmee Austin. The World Cup roster also includes “Black Hole” by Czepil, choreographed by Chelsey Klim, and Dwornik’s “Unease,” with Sunder’s choreography.

Dwornik and Austin teamed up for “Good Old Time,” choreographed by Klim, and the last group number heading to the World Cup is “Ex Wives,” performed by Chernoff, Dawkins, Hughes, Austin, Green and Roy and choreographed by Klim.

“We are proud of the dancers, teachers and choreographers that make this elite team so successful,” said Shuswap Dance choreographer Raelynn Sunder. “A lot of passionate hours go into making our dancers look their absolute best on stage. We couldn’t have these successes without the commitment of our entire team.”

Sunder said the keys to the studio’s success include specific training and focus on technique. Classical ballet dancers undergo yearly technical exams from the primary level, age six, to the Advanced 2 level, which is 18+. Modern theatre dancers also get tested annually on technical skill.

Guest teachers are often invited into Shuswap Dance Centre, said Sunder, to bring innovative new concepts to dancers and choreographers. She said the focus is always on consistent training, with teachers updating their certificates and class syllabuses, going to conventions and rehearsing outside of what’s necessary for competition.

Up next for the studio is the Penticton Kiwanis Music Festival on Saturday, May 6, where teams from the fourth grade level up to Advanced 2 will compete. Then Shuswap Dance will compete in the Great Canadian Dance Challenge in Kelowna, May 17-21. First grade dancers up to Advanced 2 will perform there.

On June 11, the studio’s year-end show will display dancers’ skills on the Vernon District Performing Arts Centre’s stage, and Sunder said this is an exciting step for the studio to get to perform in a fully-equipped performing arts facility.

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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