United ready to dance up a storm

United Dance

By Katie Watt

intern@columbiavalleypioneer.com

United Dance Studio in Invermere BC does much more than just dance the night away. In fact, sometimes they dance the whole week away, with the dancers sometimes spending more than 8 hours a week practicing their routines.

Their hard work and commitment to the sport recently paid off, as earlier this April they returned from various dance competitions across Alberta carrying 13 trophies home with them.

“We’re just like a big family,” says Michelle Jensen, one of the head instructors at United dance. Ms. Jensen is a former dancer herself, and she serves as one of the head instructors at United along with Melyssa Hecher.

“At competitions, it’s so great to see the senior dancers cheering on the juniors, and the juniors running to the seniors after a performance.”

While in Alberta, they competed in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Calgary against 285 other groups. On top of taking home 13 trophies, the team also managed to qualify at two of the three competitive dance offs, and managed to take home two third place trophies.

United Dance studio has both competitive and recreational dancers. In the recreational category, the dancers’ ages range from 4-13, while in the competitive category they range from 7-17.

“It’s so rewarding to teach them, and to see them fall in love with dance as much as we did,” says Mrs. Hecher.

The dancers and coaches have been working together to perfect their routines since March. These routines include a variety of dance styles such as hip-hop, ballet, acrobatics, jazz, and more.

To showcase their hard work to the community, United Dance will be holding year-end shows in Invermere and Cranbrook in May and June.

“We’re very excited to show Invermere what the dancers have been working on,” says Mrs. Hecher. “They’ve improved so much, and we’re so proud and excited for them.”

The Invermere showing will serve as a “teaser” for the Cranbrook event, and will be held on May 21st at the Columbia Valley Centre. Doors will open at 5:30 pm, and the dancing will begin at 6 p.m. Viewers can expect to see solo, duet, and trio dancers performing a variety of dance styles. Tickets for the event will be available for purchase at the door for $10.

The full length, year end show called “Power” will take place in Cranbrook on June 2nd at the Key City Theatre. Doors will open for the event at 3:30 pm, and will officially kick off at 4 p.m. This show will feature the team’s award winning choreography in a variety of different dance styles.

If you would like to attend the Cranbrook showing but don’t have a way to get there, a shuttle has been arranged to bring people to and from the Theatre. Shuttle seats are limited. To reserve a spot, email h.clarke@familypantry.ca. Tickets for the event are $20 and will be sold ahead of time as well. To purchase a ticket, head to the Key City Theatre website at tickets.keycitytheatre.com.

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