Page 1

Dancers share their favourite dance memory p.23

danceXpo when, where, & what it’s all about p. 6


Post-secondary options for dancers

Summer 2015 | Vol. 3 | Issue IV

New Feature Article 

Meet the Pro

This Issue: Alex Pesusich

History of Dance 

Gets spicy with Salsa! Grace Butler

ispiont tl ighhet s $4.00 PMA #42721520

Brought to you by:

Sponsored by:

Anvil Centre 777 Columbia St. New Westminster, BC

Western Canada’s ONLY danceXpo - June 13 & 14, 2015

Everything Dance Under One Roof!

Dancers ages 3 to 19 wear your studio, club, team, or academy logo’d gear & get FREE admission! 19+ do the same & get 50% off your admission

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Ballet Master Class ACRO Contemporary Hip Hop Lyrical Working in the US Info Seminar

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Fusion Force Dance Studio Langley’s “Elite” Dance Studio Company Auditions: Saturday June 13 and Saturday June 27 Ages 5-8 10:00-12:00pm Ages 9-12 12:00-2:00pm Ages 13+ 2:00-4:00pm Company Hip Hop Auditions: Sunday June 14 Ages 5-10 1:00-2:30pm Ages 11-18 2:30-4:00pm Summer Camp & Summer Intensive: July 6-9 & July 13-16 Free Trial Classes June 9, 10, 11 Drop In Summer Technique Classes Director/Owner: Kylie Hannan 3 and 4 year old programs Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, Acro, Modern, Ballet, Pointe and Musical Theatre Recreational and Company Programs Award Winning Choreographers Royal Academy Ballet Exams

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Features: Meet the pro: Alex Pesusich: Renowned Hip Hop Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer................................................................. 11 by Jacqueline Steuart In Pursuit of a Professional Career Post-Graduation............. 17 by Heidi Turner Dance on film........................................................................................ 24 by Jacqueline Steuart

Knowledge Base: Proper Rehabilitation After Injury: Why it’s Important................. 21 by Kelsey Grubb, BSc, MPT So you want to open a dance studio?.......................................... 35 by Jacqueline Steuart Balance: How Not to Burn Out This Summer....................................... 41 by Monika Volkmar

in every issue: Publisher's Letter...................................................................................... 6 In the spotlight: Grace Butler................................................................ 8 by Lori Straus just dance! Wants to Know...What is Your Favourite Dance Memory and Why?..................................................................... 23 Suzanne Sits down with Jennifer Bishop........................................ 32 by Suzanne Ouellette History of Dance: Salsa..................................................................... 38 by Rochelle Heron just dance! Directory............................................................................ 42 Cover: Pulse Dance Centre dancers Ami K, Marley J., Greg J., Lauren G., Alex C., & Meagan O. show their excitement about the upcoming danceXpo taking place at Anvil Centre (background) June 13 & 14. (Photographer credit: Techno Monkey Media) Summer 2015 | just dance! 5



t is an exciting time at just dance!. This issue marks the last in our third editorial year – and it is our biggest issue to date. With it, we introduce a new regular feature article: Meet the Pro. In this issue writer Jacqueline Steuart introduces us to “Pro” Alex Pesusich. Our young male readers in particular will enjoy reading about Alex’s journey to dancing success. Contributing writer Lori Straus puts the Spotlight on young Ontario dancer Grace Butler. Despite battling a number of health issues Grace dances on; her story is sure to inspire you. And Heidi Turner’s article about postsecondary options in the world of dance will surely help inform our 2015 grads. Our cover shot dancers however, represents our most exciting announcement. We are deep into planning of our very first danceXpo. After three years of publishing just dance! we feel the time is now right to extend what we have been offering in our pages, to a public event. So this June 13 & 14 we will be bringing “Everything Dance Under One Roof” with danceXpo at Anvil Centre in New Westminster, BC. danceXpo is for everyone! It is an event where young dancers and their parents can meet industry insiders, speak with event organizers and service providers, learn about (and shop for) dance products, and register for conventions, classes and workshops. Dance studio owners can network with industry partners; register for competitions & conventions; discover new training opportunities; find equipment, costume and accessory suppliers; and meet the competition. And exhibitors will have

the opportunity to meet a targeted captive dance audience, and get feedback from current and potential new customers.

34A - 2755 Lougheed Hwy Suite 212 Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5Y9

It will be a busy two days. Admission includes access to up to 50 exhibitors; FREE seminars, performances, lessons, demonstrations; and entry into door prize draws all weekend long.

We are also offering a series of exclusive workshops. What makes them exclusive? Toplevel instructors; 3-hour classes; maximum 20 students; one-on-one feedback; 15-minute Q&A with instructor; and participants get to perform what they learn on the danceXpo main stage! Visit for workshop instructors, descriptions, dates and times, and to register.

Publisher & Managing Editor Racquel Foran General Inquiries Art Director (Ad production, layout & image submission guidelines) Laura Bellis

Admission tickets are very affordable – only $10! Buy in advance online and receive 20% off. AND dancers ages 3 to 19 get in for FREE if they represent their, studio, club, academy, or team by wearing their logo’d gear – those 19+ who do the same get 50% off. We hope to see dance enthusiasts from across the region in attendance!

Operations Assistant Meagan O’Connor

I am thrilled that just dance! has grown consistently and steadily since our very first issue – we hope to experience the same success with danceXpo. We would like to thank our advertisers for their support. Without them we would not be able to continue informing, inspiring, & celebrating our readers. So we ask you to support our advertisers in return.

Advertising Sales Jackie Greenhalgh Contributors Heidi Turner Jacqueline Steuart Kelsey Grubb, BSc, MPT Lori Straus Monika Volkmar Rochelle Heron Suzanne Ouellette

Feel free to reach out to us any time to share information or give us feedback – we are always happy to hear from you. We look forward to seeing you at danceXpo. In the meantime, keep dancing!

just dance! magazine is available for $14 per year (4 issues)

— Racquel

To subscribe visit

Correction: The main image in the Spring 2015 Table of Contents was credited incorrectly. The photo was provided courtesy of School of Alberta Ballet.

Please return undeliverable addresses to: 0970200 BC Ltd. 1220 Gabriola Drive Coquitlam, BC V3E 1G3 Tel: 778 239 9194 Publication Mail Agreement No. 42721520

Pulse Dance Centre dancers posing in the Anvil Centre dance studio. 6 just dance! | Summer 2015

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Summer Intensive Dance Camp $350 (+ taxes) for intensive camps $600 (+ taxes) for both intensives

July 20th—24th & August 24th—27th Guest Teachers

8-3160 Westwood Street, Port Coquitlam P: 604 468.7400 E:

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Summer 2015 | just dance! 7

{ in t h e s p o t l ig h t }

in the spotlight:

Grace Butler by Lori Straus

Picture perfect pose in her ballet costume.

“Come rain, come shine, come snow, come sleet, the show must go on.”

Most dancers know that phrase, and many treat it as a personal creed. Their dedication to their art drives them to be on stage, on time, no matter what. But for 12-year-old Grace Butler, her dedication isn't always enough. If her body says the show is going on without her, she has to listen.

Grace has juvenile idiopathic arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and a thyroid condition. At the time of the interview Grace was Grace posing in her tap costume.

experiencing a "flare," as she and her mother Jody describe her arthritis. Her first competition was only two weeks away and this is Grace’s first year to have a solo. Will she be able to dance? Or will her body force her to sit this one out? The diseases affect two key components in Grace’s body: the health of her joints, and the ability to gain energy from food. Arthritis leads to fluid build-up in the joints and can make movement difficult. If it’s not managed properly, Grace can permanently damage her joints. Type 1 diabetes means the pancreas - an organ that helps us digest carbohydrates and sugars and turn them into energy - can’t make insulin. Without insulin, those carbs and sugars stay in the bloodstream and the body can’t make energy.

Grace in full makeup for a production performance.

8 just dance! | Summer 2015

{ in t h e s p o t l ig h t } Lastly, the thyroid also helps our bodies make energy: if the thyroid isn’t working well, Grace's body can either burn through energy too fast, or feel constantly sluggish.

“Well, dance kind of makes me get my mind off it. Like, when I dance I don’t think about my disease. I think kind of about the dance itself and it’s just kind of an escape from it all,” she explains.

“So right now she is starting a flare and we’re two weeks away from our first competition,” explained Jody, “I pray every night, ‘Okay, just let her have this. At least let her have one competition. At least let her have the joy.’ It’s her first year with a solo, so for her that’s like the be all and end all. She finally earned it.”

Jody sees it, too, and describes it in a way only a parent can: “I think the greatest thing for me is that it is the one time I see her have control over her body—that she’s not worrying about her sugars, her pain, her stress, or if she’ll miss a competition because we’re at Sick Kids (Hospital for Sick Children) for joint injections. She’s just present, in the moment and finally able to control her body. I think for me that’s great because much of her life is spent trying to control something she can’t control.”

Grace studies tap, jazz, and ballet at Jaymor School of Dancing in Aurora, Ontario, about 50 km north of Toronto. She’s been dancing since she was three years old. Alina Adjemian and Susie Prestwich teach her ballet, and Grace studies tap and jazz under Angela Cecchino. In addition to her dance training, Grace assists with Saturday morning classes for children up to age 6. She likes introducing them to dance and showing them the basics.

Tempo photography.

“It’s fun to me,” Grace says. Every month, Grace visits the rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in joints), at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, to monitor the swelling in her joints. Each visit is a bit of a nervewracking experience. Will the doctor tell her that she can’t dance for a while? Will she need to add some extra physiotherapy to her schedule to help cull a flare? Or will everything be okay? Grace must also manage her diabetes daily. She generally uses an insulin pump, which injects small doses of insulin in to her body throughout the day. However, she doesn’t like wearing it while performing, because it flops around too much. But if she doesn't wear it, it can lead to a problem: the adrenaline needed to perform on stage can increase her risk of having a blood sugar high or low. If her blood sugar spikes, she may have to run off stage to get to rid of the extra sugar in her blood. If her blood sugar drops, she could collapse and have a seizure. Her thyroid problem is the easiest to manage: she takes a pill every morning and goes for check-ups every few months. All of these medical concerns and the potential for permanent harm to her body beg the question: Why does Grace dance?

Jody explains there are days when Grace cries and is frustrated because the diabetes and arthritis limit her.

on how you can improve your dance so that by the final competition you’re probably at the best that you can be,” she says. Grace doesn’t dance on stage for the attention. Rather, she dances to tell a story, any story her teachers want to tell through the choreography. “I just like being able to kind of tell the story with my body and explain different things and making rhythms just using my feet or using different parts of my body ‘cause that’s really cool,” she says. The good news is that Grace's show did go on. She competed in the junior categories for jazz large group, tap small group, ballet demi-character large group, and the ultimate category for this year: tap solo. One show down, two more to go.

“She feels like her body betrays her almost. Like, ‘I’m doing everything I can and following the doctor’s orders and I’m still having to deal with this.’ That’s the only time I see in her that heartache. That, ‘Okay, now today I’m frustrated.’” Dance can help or harm Grace’s arthritis, depending on how swollen her joints are. If her rheumatologist detects that Grace’s joints are just starting to swell up, he may prescribe some physiotherapy to bring the swelling down. However, if the flare has passed a certain point and fluid has started to collect in her joints, Grace may permanently damage them if she dances or otherwise exercises, because the joint isn’t working properly. In those situations, she needs to take a break from dance. Last year, one such break persisted for three months. But that didn’t mean Grace’s dedication to dance dropped: Her teacher saved her a spot in the choreography, and Grace observed class for three months. Her friends would even text her the choreography if Grace had to miss class.

Above: Grace's health struggles don't dim her smile. Grace dancing while wearing her insulin pump.

You can tell, though, that Grace’s challenges don’t stop her from dreaming. What does she want to be when she grows up? A dancer, of course, and a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. (She was happy Ricky won last year - she was rooting for him.) “I do think it’s fun to be able to go out on stage and show the judges what you can do and that they can give you tips on how to get better so that each competition you get new forms of advice Summer 2015 | just dance! 9

Pre-Professional, Competitive & Recreational Acro | Cecchetti Ballet | Contemporary | Hip Hop Improv | Jazz | Lyrical | Musical Theatre | Tap

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Sunday May 24 th 10:00am-4:00pm Pre-Registration Required | 604.272.0808 | | 30 - 11151 Horseshoe Way, Richmond BC

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Thank-you for such a wonderful experience we had with you on Saturday. It was an absolute joy to work alongside you. We can’t thank you enough for your calm energy and professionalism throughout.“ - Sarah Pulse Dance Centre, Port Coquitlam

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Meet the pro: Alex Pesusich Renowned Hip Hop Dancer, Teacher + Choreographer by Jacqueline Steuart

“People have a hard time imaging that I am a dancer,” laughs American-born Alex Pesusich who, at 6’1 and 240 pounds, says he looks more like a football player than a dancer. While playing sports has always been a part of his life, Alex says his true passion is dance. “I took my first dance class when I was 11 or 12,” he recalls. “My mom kind of tricked me into it,” says Alex, who admits he’s always been fairly competitive. “One day after baseball practice I had to watch the last half hour of my younger sister’s dance class. While I was watching her I turned to my mom, as kind of a joke, and I said, 'I can do that.'” His mother, who already knew that Alex loved to dance around the house making what she called his “happy feet,” baited him with an “Oh Alex, you could never do that,” knowing full well that he wouldn’t shy away from the challenge. A week later the young boy from Denver, Colorado took his first jazz class and loved it. “Denver, at that time, was a town full of jocks,” says Alex. “There were football players, soccer players, and baseball players, but dancers and artists were

largely misunderstood, so I was labeled as gay because I danced.” Alex admits he was bullied in high school and he often thought about quitting his dance classes. “I did have these breakdowns and I would get into lots of fights,” but he says the thought of giving up dance was much worse than the bullying itself. “Dance was my emotional outlet and my creative outlet. It’s what got me through those tough times.” Nowadays, Alex recognizes bullying as a form of jealousy, and he wants young dancers who may be faced with the same kind of struggle to know that bullying can’t take away your love of dance or your happiness.

Alex Pesusich

Summer 2015 | just dance! 11

By age 14, Alex already knew he wanted to be a professional dancer and at 16 he’d made his first trip to Los Angeles with his Denver dance studio. “We took classes at EDGE Performing Arts Center and Tremaine and I decided then that I wanted to dance in LA.” He adds that he was inspired by a Paula Abdul concert when he was a teenager, too. “I had a huge crush on Paula and seeing the energy between Paula and the backup dancers was such an exciting experience that I knew I wanted to be a part of it.” After graduating from high school, Alex moved to LA and never looked back. He immersed himself in dance classes three hours a day, five days a week. Although he says he left Denver trained as a jazz, tap and ballet dancer, he found himself going out more and more for hip hop auditions

"...I would put on N.W.A., Public Enemy or LL Cool J in my basement and go to town Alex and Joanne posing with dancers on the television show The L Word.

because that was the music that really spoke to my heart."




The mandate of the Senior Select Program is to assist and nurture serious Half Day Program dancers whose goal is to pursue a career in the performing arts. Senior Select Scholarships will be awarded to dancers who have attended the Richmond Academy of Dance for a minimum of 2 years, and have chosen to attend academic schools that allow them to attend the Full-time Half Day Dance Programs. Dancers must be in Grades 11 and 12 and must then go through an audition and interview.

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www.r ichm ond acad e m yofd 12 just dance! | Summer 2015

in LA. “I loved hip hop music and when I was in Denver I would put on N.W.A., Public Enemy or LL Cool J in my basement and go to town because that was the music that really spoke to my heart.” Alex found the LA experience was often feast or famine, and he admits that he didn’t budget well. “There were times when I wondered what I had gotten myself into, but dance was always my saviour.” He was fortunate to have landed an agent in LA when he first arrived and within a few months was booked as a featured dancer in Will Smith’s iconic Men in Black music video in 1997. Since those lean early years, Alex has amassed an impressive list of stage and screen credits that reads like a veritable Who’s Who. Some of the distinguished artists and companies he has danced or choreographed for include Toni Braxton and Foxy Brown, Elise Estrada, Daniel Bedingfield, and Backstreet Boys; choreographers Paul Becker, Adam Shankman and Crystal Pite; film and TV companies Warner Bros., ABC, Family, Disney; and retail heavyweights Reebok and Nike.

Alex and Joanne Pesusich riding with Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

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Summer 2015 | just dance! 13

While still in LA, Alex met and fell in love with Canadian dancer Joanne McCutcheon. Together the pair moved back to Vancouver in 1998 and married shortly afterwards. “Not too many dancers move from LA to Vancouver. It’s usually the other way around,” Alex chuckles, but the self-professed romantic says he wanted to be near Joanne and her family.

Alex posing with Afghan troops in Kabul

Daniel Bedingfield and Alex. • 604-420-0204 202 – 4199 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby, BC

Summer Dance Intensive Special guest teachers Josh Beamish and Julio Fuentes Ballet, Contemporary Lyrical, Contemporary Jazz, Jazz Funk August 10 – 15, 9:15am – 4:15pm each day Intermediate 9 – 12 years $300.00 // Seniors 13+ $350.00 Non-school members $350.00 // $400.00 respectively (all include tax)

Princess Day Camp Join Elsa and Anna for a week of Frozen delights with singing, dancing, crafts and story time July 6 – 10, Monday to Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm each day Age 4 – 7 years, no dance experience necessary $210.00 (includes tax) See our Facebook page for more camps!

The Pesusich’s often work together and co-direct Groove Street Productions Dance Conventions (GSP), and Street Groove Hip Hop Conventions at venues across Western Canada. They’ve also performed together internationally entertaining allied forces at military bases in Croatia, Dubai, Germany, Greece, and war torn Afghanistan. “It got pretty scary at times,” says Alex reflecting on a rocket attack near the Kabul base where he and his wife had been living among the soldiers. “It’s not until you get home that you understand the effect of what you’ve just been through when you have an experience like that.” Alex says he respects the men and women of the armed forces and felt honoured to be able to give something back. “There was this deep, quiet gratitude from the troops after we performed that really touches you,” he says, and adds, “Dancing can be a really selfish thing, I mean we do it because we love it, but being able to use those gifts to make others happy is a powerful feeling.” Today, Alex continues to share his extensive knowledge and passion for dance with eager students across the country, whether he is adjudicating dance festivals several times a year or teaching hip hop to his competitive group at Peggy Peat’s School of Dance in Maple Ridge, BC. He also dedicates much of his time to refining and promoting GSP, now in its 17th year, and is currently preparing the annual iYi-Dance Inspired choreography show, which he created, to be presented at Granville Island’s Waterfront Theatre in May 2015. To find out more about Alex Pesusich and GSP go to And be sure to check out iYi-Dance Inspired on Facebook for more information and to purchase tickets for this unique choreographic event.

14 just dance! | Summer 2015

Tour Dates 2016

Regional Tour Moncton, New Brunswick Capitol Theatre April 8th-9th 2016 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Dartmouth Sportsplex April 13th-17th 2016 Toronto, Ontario Meadowvale Theatre April 23rd-24th 2016

Calgary, Alberta Edge School For Athletes May 12th-14th 2016

National Finals TBA

Sydney, Nova Scotia TBA April 1st-3rd 2016

Halifax, Nova Scotia Bella Rose Arts Centre April 29th -May 1st 2016

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In Pursuit of a Professional Career Post-Graduation by Heidi Turner


raduation is an exciting time for any high school student, but for students wanting to pursue a career in dance, graduation can be filled with uncertainty. There are a variety of interesting options for young dancers at the start of their career, making it overwhelming to choose a path. From professional programs to university degrees to dancing on cruise ships, there are many ways for dancers to kick off a career. Ultimately, each dancer’s goals and current needs will help to determine which avenue is best.

The Academic Path

For some dancers having a degree is vital. Universities, such as Simon Fraser University, offer dance programs, with dancers able to get a major or minor in dance. University dance programs tend to combine technique, movement, and improvisation classes in the studio, with theory and history classes in the classroom. A degree program allows dancers to explore other career avenues, either related to dance—such as kinesiology or teaching—or not. Cheryl Prophet, Senior Lecturer with SFU, says the program focuses on providing dancers with a wealth of performance opportunities.

Bruce Zinger,

“We moved in 2010 so we’re in downtown Vancouver instead of on the Burnaby campus,” Prophet says. “We’re in the heart of the artistic community. The building has six performing venues, including a main stage theatre and two black box theatres. The move has allowed us to run programs with professional choreographers such as Crystal Pite [choreographer of Kidd Pivot].” Dancers in the SFU program have the opportunity to collaborate with other arts students. SFU also has a joint program with the National Ballet School Teacher Training program, where dancers who want to become teachers can

spend three years at SFU to get their degree and two years in Toronto for teacher training credentials. Some universities and colleges offer joint programming with dance training schools. Vancouver Community College offers a diploma program in cooperation with Arts Umbrella. The two-year program allows students to study professional dance in ballet, modern, jazz, and flamenco, and offers performance, administration and entrepreneurship training.

The Dance Training Path

For those who don’t want or need a degree there are postsecondary professional dance programs. These programs are designed to help young dancers transition from life as a student to life as a professional dancer. And no matter how much dancing students do while still in high school, dancing at a professional level can be a shock. The National Ballet School in Toronto offers a post-secondary ballet training program that bridges the years between secondary school and life. Many of the dancers in the program have previously graduated from the school’s professional program. “Sometimes dancers aren’t quite ready for an apprenticeship, but a company is interested in them, so they spend a year with us in our post-secondary program,” says Shaun Amyot, co-manager of the National Ballet School’s Post-Secondary Program. “It’s a big transition year. The number of physical dancing hours doubles from high school. Plus, the dancers have the option to live on their own for the first time, so they learn a lot of life skills.”

The Working Path

Some dancers just want to start performing and making money. Those dancers may benefit from taking a contract or Summer 2015 | just dance! 17

Tri-City Dance Centre

Complete Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Ballet Exam Program from Pre-Primary to Solo Seal AIDT Tap Exam Program Jazz & Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Acrobatics and Musical Theatre with Vocal Coaching Recreational & Competitive Program Professional Training Program from age 8 Company Program for ages 14 to 18 Lots of performing & competing opportunities

2015 Summer Programs for all Ages and Styles! Please check our website for more information and to register.

Tri-City Dance Centre 98 Brigantine Drive Coquitlam, British Columbia Phone 604.523.6868 Email:

Pre-Professional Dance Training Program Do you LOVE to dance? Introducing the Vaganova (Russian) ballet method pre-professional dance training program in North Vancouver. Program available for ages 5 and up. Auditions in August, 2015 Program begins September 2015. Call or email for info or to book your audition time: (604) 987-8747 286 Pemberton Ave, North Vancouver

Our Ballet Teachers Roberta Baseggio 18 just dance! | Summer 2015

Susan Heimsoth

Laura Zeke Photography

two on a cruise ship. Cruise ship contracts offer a great way for dancers to get performance experience while seeing the world. Even better, they get paid to do it—and have minimal living expenses. Some cruise ship dancers love the life, moving from contract to contract aboard cruise ships for years. “Once a show is up and running on a cruise, we’ll do a pick-up rehearsal the day of the show, but dancers aren’t working all the time,” says Kevin Miller, studio specialist, show productions with Princess Cruises. “Dancers have days off and are free to explore. They have full passenger privileges and access to everything on our ship decks. Part of the experience of dancing on a cruise ship is doing what you love and making a living while getting to see the world.” But, getting hired by a cruise line can take time. Cruise ships won’t hire dancers under age 18, and when they do hold auditions, there may be hundreds of dancers competing for one or two jobs. It can take a few years to be hired by a cruise line, during which some dancers fill the time by taking other jobs, teaching dance, auditioning for dance videos, and attending workshops.

choose, there are some things all dancers should do. It’s important to practice daily and commit to continuous improvement. Even dancers at the top of their profession take classes so they continue to learn and improve. Finally, anyone who wants to be a professional dancer should attend workshops and take advantage of performing opportunities. The more experience dancers have dancing on stage—whether it’s for a small arts group or a large professional company—the better. Nothing can replace the experience of dancing in front of an audience.


Dance & Costume

“Whatever path an emerging dancer chooses to take, it has to be the right fit,” Prophet says. “It depends on the individual, but the timing has to be right. It’s not the end of the world if the student does one year in university, takes a break, and comes back. Or if a high school student does something else and after four or five years comes to us.”

Specializing in Gaynor Minden

Dancers can also jump into their career by auditioning for shows, companies and other dance opportunities, such as dance videos, right away. Doing so gets them excellent audition experience, but depending on where they live professional opportunities can be few and far between, and they may have to take on other jobs until they make enough money to live on their dance income.

Pointe Shoe Centre Bloch • Grishko Dreampointe

No matter which career path they

Gaynor Minden • Russian Rubin Capezio New Airess • So Danca

Which Path to Take?

The following factors might help you determine which career path is best for you. University might be a good option if:

• You want to dance in a company.

• You want a fallback career.

• Your priority isn’t making money right away.

• You want a degree. • Your priority isn’t making money right away. • You want to explore different styles of dance. • You want to learn theory behind dance.

• You want some time to transition between high school life and dance life. Cruise ship dancing might be good for you if: • You want to make money right away.

• You’re interested in careers in dance other than dancing (such as arts administration).

• You’re willing and able to travel.

Pre-professional programs might be a good option if:

• You can dance in a variety of styles.

• You want more performance opportunities.

2 Locations! Maple Ridge: 604-466-0861 22374 Dewdney Trunk Rd Abbotsford: 604-855-9166 #3 - 2543 Montrose Ave

• You have a specific style of dance you want to do (such as ballet). Summer 2015 | just dance! 19

Place des Arts SUMMER DANCE!

Pre-Teen Jazz Teen Jazz 1 (2-3 years experience) Teen Jazz II (3-5 years experience) Ballet for Boys and Girls (4-5 & 6-8 years) w! Register nohone Ballet Technique and Choreography (9-13 years) yp online or b PLUS! Adult Tap & Adult Ballet

Professional Dance Organizations Young dancers pursuing a career in professional dance may want to join professional organizations dedicated to assisting and advocating for dancers. The Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists/Western Chapter Rates vary depending on the type of membership. Offers: • Resources, opportunities 1120 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam

Call 604.664.1636 for more information!

and partnerships for working professional dancers. • Training subsidy programs. • Templates for dance contracts/agreements. • Standards for pay and working conditions. • Professional discounts The Canadian Dance Assembly (CDA)

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Rates vary depending on the type of membership. Offers:

Dancer’s Dream, LLC Phone: 1-877-378-1260 Email:

• A national voice for Canadian professional dance. • Insurance through the CDA National Health Insurance Program. • Advocacy for dancers.


• Listing in the online


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Kids will be kids. Or at least they should be! Kids Physio Group is here to help with services designed specifically with them in mind, so they can go back to doing what they love most: being kids.


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BOSWELL DANCE ACADEMY Kids Injuries: Sports Injury Prevention & Rehab / Post Fracture & Surgery / Post-Concussion Syndrome Infant Conditions: Torticollis / Head Shape Management / Gross Motor Milestones


20 just dance! | Summer 2015






Proper Rehabilitation After Injury: Why it’s Important Ligaments aren’t likely something a dancer pays much attention to on an average day, but they may be something that suddenly becomes a focus after a dancerelated injury. Here are answers to a few questions that a dancer or dance parent might have regarding ligament injuries.

What are ligaments? Ligaments are bands of fibrous connective tissue that connect two bones, supporting all the joints in our body. Muscles also help to support joints, they are the “movers” of the body – shortening and lengthening to give movement. Ligaments, however, don’t move or contract, but they play a vital role in the stability of the joints, especially in a dancer. An injury to a ligament is known as a “sprain.” Sprains can be mild to severe. They are typically graded as first-(mild), second-(moderate), or third-(severe) degree sprains. A ligament sprain might cause pain, limited movement of the joint, swelling, inflammation, and potentially the inability to bear weight on the leg due to pain.

How does a sprain occur? A sprain can occur in a variety of ways, but in a dancer, it is most likely to occur in the ankles or knees. A sprain might happen when a dancer lands or turns improperly, hyperextends the knee repeatedly, or because of the repeated jumping that most dance styles demand.

Which ligaments might become sprained in a dancer? The most common knee ligament to be injured in a dancer is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). This is a ligament which runs diagonally between the thigh and shin bones and prevents forward movement of the shin bone as well as gives rotational support to the knee; this ligament is most commonly injured by landing on one leg.

by Kelsey Grubb, BSc, MPT

How is this relevant to a young dancer?

One of the most common ankle injuries is a lateral ankle sprain, which is caused by the ankle rolling inward, stressing the ligaments which are located on the outside of the ankle. This might happen during a landing or turn.

What should you do if injured? First and foremost, do not “dancethrough” the injury. Not only will this be painful, this may worsen the initial insult to the tissues. It can also result in compensation patterns, which if left untreated, can cause an injury to another area of the body. The first-line treatment for any degree of sprain is the “PRICE” principle: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. PRICE primarily helps to prevent further injury and decrease the inflammation in the joint, allowing the body’s healing process to begin. Typically, PRICE is appropriate during the initial phase of healing, but is often insufficient to regain adequate strength and range of movement. A physiotherapist’s assessment and treatment should be sought to determine the severity of the strain and to guide a dancer safely back to the studio. The injury itself might also be due to a lack of strength, range of motion, or dysfunctional movement patterns; a physiotherapist can also find these deficits and help address them to prevent re-injury.

Does a sprain pose a risk for the future? Because ligaments are not as flexible as muscles or tendons, they have a high potential for re-injury. A physiotherapist can help guide a dancer back to full form before returning to full training in the studio, so that that risk of re-injury is much lower.

The proper rehabilitation of a ligamentous injury is especially important for young dancers! Injury that is not properly rehabilitated can cause pain, muscle imbalance, and poor movement patterns which will hinder a dancer’s abilities in their craft. If the dancer’s body is growing and changing, this can be amplified. The good news is that with the proper rehab and guidance from a physiotherapist, a young dancer will be able to return to sport faster, safer, and with a better outcome.

How can YOU prevent a ligament injury? The best line of defense to prevent a ligament injury is proper training. This includes adequate warm-up before dance class including stretches, and strength training to facilitate strong muscles around the ankles and knees. A physiotherapist can also assess a dancer to help identify and address any strength or range of motion deficits the dancer may have before an injury occurs. This is known as pre-habilitation and is the act of optimizing an athlete’s strength, range of motion, and physical performance in order to prevent an injury. Happy Dancing!

Kelsey Grubb, BSc, MPT Pediatric Physiotherapist Kids Physio Group Kelsey Grubb is a pediatric physiotherapist working at Kids Physio Group’s Surrey location. She is passionate about treating kids and helping them get back to sport and activity following injury. Kids Physio Group is a private physiotherapy clinic providing playful treatments with three clinic spaces designed just for kids. Summer 2015 | just dance! 21


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22 just dance! | Summer 2015

Dance – Performance

just dance! wants to know:

What is your favourite dance memory & why?

Alexia Vasiliki D.

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Age: 9

Xtreme Cheer & Dance, Langley, BC My favourite dance memory is performing my very first solo routine on a stage - we were in Hawaii (April 2014) for a Cheerleading Competition. It was a jazz routine to one of my favourite songs “Make you believe” by Lucy Hale. I was there with my dad and he was so proud of me and I got to win a medal. I was really nervous but so happy and excited. This is my mom’s favourite picture of me from that day. 877.378.1260 | 763.432.0399

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Age: 16

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Age: 15

Dance Oasis, Osoyoos, BC My favourite dance memory is performing our group jazz ‘Robots’ and knowing that we nailed it and receiving gold. Also doing a flash mob of our show group at 6am in the departure area of the airport. So fun!!!!! Love, love my dance family.

For fall 2015 just dance! wants to know...What was a standout performance for you during the 2015 competition season? (psst... it doesn't have to be one of your own!) Send your response including your name, age, and studio you dance with, along with a photo of yourself to: All respondents will be automatically entered to win a FREE one-year subscription to just dance! magazine and a gift pack from Dream Duffel that includes a 3-pack of Regular Garment Bags, a 3-pack of Wooden Hangers, and a Black Hanging Cosmetic Roll. (Contest submission deadline is August 1, 2015)

Respond to Win!

Abby T.

My favourite dance memory was my first dance competition 3 years ago and our teacher told us to go out there and have fun and enjoy every moment. We did just that and we won a judges' award, we were all very happy girls.

So credit: Eva

My favourite memory of dance is travelling to Tacoma every year for Showstoppers Dance Competition. It’s a great competition, and I love spending time with my dance friends!

Age: 12

Summer 2015 | just dance! 23

Unlike live performance where adrenalin-pumped dancers move sequentially from one movement to the next and anything can happen, dancing on film can be surprisingly more arduous. Just a snippet of choreography can take hours to film, so dancers need to call upon a slightly different skill set when performing on camera. They need to take direction and apply it on the spot, be willing to repeat sections of the dance over and over again while still making it look fresh, and above all possess unflagging stamina. Where a live performance may last a few minutes to two hours, capturing a whole dance on film, even a short one, could take hours, or even days to complete.

Dance on Film dancer, Taylor Dolan.

e c n a D ilm F n o 24 just dance! | Summer 2015

Mark Halliday of Moonrider Productions

B y J a c q u e l in e S t e u a r t

To understand the filmmaking process, just dance! followed dancer and choreographer, Danielle Gardner, and renowned photographer and filmmaker, David Cooper, for three days in the making of their short film project, Shadow State.

Even though the dance portion of the

Conceived and choreographed by Danielle, Shadow State explores the complexity of one’s personality through story telling, lighting and special effects. But before Danielle could bring the piece to life on film, she needed to cast two dynamic dancers who could also act and handle the demands of a long filming day.

audition was the next crucial step in the

Day One – The Audition

for the dancers, Rebekah assigned one

Mark Halliday of Moonrider Productions (x2), Rebekah Asselstine (middle photo).

To find the right blend of talent, Danielle hosted an audition for her project at Vancouver’s popular Harbour Dance Centre. “Dancers have to have an understanding of acting to be able to tell a story on film,” says Danielle. “Without being able to connect to your feelings it makes it virtually impossible to express the emotions needed for film.” It was with these criteria in mind that Danielle set about to assess the versatility of the auditioning dancers. At first, the dancers took turns moving diagonally across the floor demonstrating their individual technical strengths and musicality in a series of improvised solos. Danielle encouraged the dancers “to eat the floor” meaning she wanted to see how creatively they would use the space. Then the dancers were put through their paces as they quickly learned and performed what seemed to be impossibly fast choreography. Fortunately, Danielle’s friendly and relaxed demeanour created a supportive environment for the dancers who freely asked questions while attempting to get the choreography exactly right.

Biographies Danielle Gardner, founder and CEO of IMPACT DANCE PRODUCTIONS, was born and raised in BC and has become one of Canada’s most soughtafter dancers, choreographers and adjudicators. Her past film and television credits include Center Stage: Step it Up, Motive, and CTV’s So You Think You Can Dance (Season 3) where she placed among the top four women. Danielle’s choreography has been showcased at various venues and events in Vancouver and New York City.

audition had finished and the dancers had successfully interpreted Danielle’s complicated choreography, it was still anybody’s guess who she would hire for the project. So, the acting portion of the audition process.

Shadow State crew assists with lighting effects while David Cooper films Danielle.

With the help of production assistant and dancer-actress, Rebekah Asselstine, Danielle went on to explore the dancers’ ability to take direction and create a character on-the-spot. In what was probably the most challenging exercise word—anger, psychotic and attentionseeker, among others—to each dancer. The dancers were then given just 25 seconds to create a character around the one word they’d been given. In what was an unexpected departure from a typical dance audition many of the participants took a no-holds-barred approach to the acting assignment. They created fearless characters who shouted, gesticulated, laughed, cried, and commanded attention with Danielle’s trusty reassurance that “what happens in the audition room, stays in the audition room.”

David Cooper atop a ladder filming Shadow State with hand held 4K video camera with camera assistant Mark Halliday taking still shots.

“This is clearly not about the dancing,” says Rebekah, “This is about expression and being able to create a character on impulse.” As the audition drew to a close Danielle remarked, “One of the reasons I included so much improvisation in the audition was to see the dancers’ true colours and to push their limits. Working on film requires last minute changes and dancers have to be able to adapt quickly.” David Cooper is a renowned Vancouver-based dance and theatre photographer and filmmaker. His extensive client lists includes prima ballerina Evelyn Hart and artists of The Royal Winnipeg Ballet. David’s previous short films Eclipse (2013) and Hands (2012) can be viewed on Trained in a variety of dance styles that includes acrobatics, contemporary, ballet, hip hop, jazz and tap, Regan Calicetto has taken her love of dance around the world. She has performed and trained in the UK, Thailand, Australia

Dance On Film: Taylor Dolan, Danielle Gardner and Regan Calicetto. and North America. Regan has appeared with Modus Operandi, Sweett Moves and The Underground Circus. Regan also teaches dance classes and acrobatic workshops throughout British Columbia. Vancouver-born Taylor Dolan started her professional career at age 12 when she worked for Nickelodeon and Disney. Taylor debuted her first choreographic work at the Vancouver Global Dance Project when she was just 17 years old. She currently works under the artistic direction of Amber Funk Barton at The Response, a contemporary dance company in Vancouver. Summer 2015 | just dance! 25

and director, David, along with his camera assistant, watched the dancers closely so they could make decisions about lighting, camera angles, and how to best use special effects, which on this project, included fog and dry ice.

Taylor Dolan.

At the end of the day decisions about hair, makeup, and costumes had also been made and the dancers left prepared for the next day’s film shoot.

Day Three – The Shoot At 10 a.m. the next morning Danielle, Regan, and Taylor revealed their filmready appearance with impeccably slicked back hair, flawless makeup and form-fitting active-wear designed by Vancouver’s Jacq Smith.

Day Two – The Rehearsal Two days after the audition, Danielle arrived at David Cooper’s East Vancouver photography studio with freshly hired dancers, Taylor Dolan and Regan Calicetto, for a three-hour rehearsal. “When I saw Taylor and Regan at the audition, I knew I needed them,” says Danielle who adds, “They both shone at the audition. They had a true understanding of my movement and they caught on right away.” With only one rehearsal before filming, the dancers worked quickly to learn the choreography, set it to music and feel their way around their new performance space. For his part as cinematographer

In the first take of the day the backlit dancers ran a short piece of choreography on the white sprung dance floor of David’s studio. Three vertically hung fluorescent lights attached to a pitch black backdrop illuminated the 20-foot by 20-foot stage while dry ice bubbled, spilled and swirled into the scene from two off-screen cooking pots. The effect was otherworldly. “David can take something as simple as daylight and make you look like you are in a whole different world. It is truly inspiring,” says Danielle who adds she was thrilled to watch David “work his magic.” For dancers, working on film is a completely different experience than live performance. Not only are there distractions like crew moving about, harsh

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28 just dance! | Summer 2015

Danielle Gardners’s Ten Tips for Creating Your Own Dance Film “The sole purpose of creating Shadow State was to provide dancers with an opportunity to be paid for their work and to bring awareness to the community that dancers should be paid for their work. I want my dancers to know they are valued.” -Danielle Gardner 1. Find a director and videographer you can trust.

5. Find sponsors who will support and promote you.

2. Obtain the rights to music

6. Host an audition, cast your dancers.

3. Use a fundraising website like GoFundMe to raise money for your project. 4. Use your resources (a.k.a. your talented friends) to help you with costumes, props, craft service (food), hair, makeup, studio space, and rehearsal space. bright lights, and in this case, special effects, but you also have the camera to deal with. “I was constantly concerned I had lipstick on my teeth,” jokes Taylor who says, “Working on camera feels a bit intimidating especially as the camera can be so close to your face.” Another challenge for dancers is the constant repetition of choreography with frequent breaks for camera and lighting set-ups. “When film is involved you always need to prepare for a long day,” affirms Regan. Most people who work on set in the film industry are familiar with the words “hurry up and wait”, but for dancers the waiting between takes creates the additional challenge of keeping their bodies warm and performance-ready. “I wasn’t expecting such a high demand from my body,” says Regan who feels


7. Keep track of your budget. 8. Create buzz about your film through social media. 9. Thank your sponsors. 10. Pay your dancers.

it’s much easier to stay focused on the dancing when you can go right through, like in live performance, “So, I was surprised when I could feel the stiffness take over, even after the first rehearsal.” As the six-hour shooting day progressed and the dancers fought to keep their bodies warm, David, Danielle, and an additional crew of four worked corroboratively to create a unique film experience that proved to be an inspiring venture for all. “Whether we were dancing, filming, or turning on lights, we felt we were important to the project as a whole,” concludes Regan. *Shadow State by Danielle Gardner and David Cooper is expected to be completed in May 2015, and will be submitted to select film festivals. Stay tuned for details.


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Summer 2015 | just dance! 31


Left: Jennifer (left) poses with Andrea Lo.

Suzanne Sits Down with

Jennifer Bishop

Tell me a little about your early dance training and where it took place? I grew up in Kamloops where I started dancing first with Michael Meakin (ballet teacher) and then with Judy Hunter’s School of Dance. I took R.A.D. ballet first, at age five or six and then added tap when I was seven, and jazz & musical theatre when I was 10. My mother was my tap teacher! Our studio was somewhat limited when I became a teenager so we began to venture over to Kelowna. At 13, my dad began driving me over to Kelowna to take ballet at The Canadian School of Ballet, and jazz and tap at Robb Card Dance Studio. I really think that taking lessons from Robb was a huge turning point for me. I may have lost interest and quit, but he was such an amazing, inspiring teacher. I loved dancing there so much that I began to miss school to go to Kelowna during the week to dance. In grade 12, I ended up taking up room and board with a family and living in Kelowna so I could graduate and go to school there. I loved it. I had a scooter and I rode to and from dance class after school. I was at the studio with Robb every day. I continued to go back 32 just dance! | Summer 2015

Middle: Jennifer ready to tap as "Miss Liberty USA"

every year after I left to help with the show and perform as a guest artist, and then teach at summer school.

Tell me about the start to your professional career? I landed at Harbour Dance Centre when I moved here [to Vancouver] and took class every day with Pamela Quick Rosa. She is the godmother of all things dance, to me. Every little gig that I got was through her. There were so many more opportunities to do corporate work in those days, so we kept busy doing all sorts of shows. We even did a weekly show at the old Richards on Richards. (Richards on Richards is a former Vancouver nightclub; it closed down several years ago.) I was part of the company at Harbour Dance Centre in those days and had the great fortune of dancing with some of the most amazing dancers and choreographers of that time (Belinda Sobie, Craig Hempstead, Max Reimer, Jim Hibbard, Jeff Hyslop, Pam Quick). I had an amazing, dancerfriendly agent (Maddalena Acconci) who took me under her wing. I did quite a bit of film/tv/commercial work (small parts) and got to dabble in choreography as her assistant. I toured with a top 40 band, danced and played percussion in a touring show. I have been very lucky to perform in some of my favourite shows at The Vancouver Playhouse and The Arts Club Theatre with some of the best people in the theatre scene.

When did you start teaching and why did you feel that is what you wanted to do? When I first started to teach it was for my aunt in Alberta and it was out of obligation mostly (I was too young - 16!) When I

started in Vancouver I was 19 or 20 and it wasn’t what I wanted to do at that time, but I realized it was one of the best jobs I could have with the most flexibility, still doing what I loved to do. I didn’t realize how much I loved it until much later, into my early 30’s. I was teaching everything from jazz to musical theatre. I decided to start specializing in tap because it was a better long term plan being that it’s not as hard on your body. And not many people were really teaching it. I eventually transitioned to teaching workshops and guest classes at studios, and then mostly adults. Which, when you are choosing to specialize in tap, is like being a dream-weaver! Who didn’t want to tap when they were a kid!?

What is your involvement with West Coast Tap Dance Collective? The West Coast Tap Dance Collective is a non-profit organization that was founded by my friend Carmelle Cachero and I, along with our friends-members of what was The Urban Tap Squad-Shelley Stewart Hunt, Keri Minty, Melissa Frakman, Melissa Lipkowski and Tracie Henry. We wanted to see some more inclusive community activity for tap dancers in Vancouver and also wanted to support the local professionals with no strings attached. Celebrating National Tap Dance Day was our one big project and it has been successfully running for (approximately)12 years. I’m so proud that the organization has weathered some tough times in the arts scene and survived. This year they awarded scholarships to a student as well as professional development money to a professional tapper. Their annual celebration is getting so big that they are

Cindy Goodman (far left photo).


ennifer Bishop is a former ballet student, who has also performed in many professional musical theatre productions with Suzanne’s husband, David Adams. Jennifer has been teaching, performing, adjudicating, choreographing and producing for more than 20 years. She is a resident instructor at Harbour Dance Centre, the co-founder of the West Coast Tap Dance Collective and the owner of The Rhythm Room. Suzanne sits down with Jennifer Bishop...

Above: Jennifer (middle) performing with The Urban Tap Squad.

{ S u z a nn e S i t s D o w n Wi t h } needing to consider expanding it. It’s a really wonderful group of people who all have a genuine love for tap. I was on the board for years and then stepped away so it could float without people thinking it was rooted with me and my studio, so it could be seen as the independent, inclusive organization it was intended. I have now stepped back on the board where I’m serving a 2nd year as Vice President.

About Suzanne: Suzanne Ouellette has performed with, taught, rehearsed and enjoyed the company of some of the world’s most famous dance movers and shakers. She has trained and danced with the world’s finest ballet companies from Stuttgart Ballet to Royal Winnipeg, as well as performed professionally as a lead dancer, singer and actress in theaters across Canada. She was ballet mistress for Ballet BC, rehearsal director for Mascall Dance and Ballet BC; and founder of the BBC mentor program. She is a creative and innovative choreographer of dance for film and television, as well as opera and theatre. Suzanne’s passion, enthusiasm, and extensive background in many facets of the performing arts, make her in great demand as a teacher, choreographer, director and adjudicator.

Half Day Program

Why did you decide to open the Rhythm Room and what is it all about?

15+ hours in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Pointe, Lyrical, Musical Theatre and more

I began to have students asking me for daytime classes, so I started to rent by the hour and before I knew it, the classes grew and multiplied to where it became a hassle trying to find studio time. Especially as a tapper as there are so few studios that allow you to tap on the floor. I was on my way to Nanaimo on the ferry reading The Province (which I NEVER do) and for some reason I was so bored I looked in the commercial space for lease. There it listed “Dance Studio for Lease”. Long story short, it was already set up and zoned. I bought the floor, mirrors and assorted other studio paraphernalia from the former owner and away I went! I was pregnant and signed a lease for my first business all in the same month. So far so good: my studio’s still running and my child is alive! The Rhythm Room is a place for all percussive forms of dance. We’ve had a bit of everything but mostly specialize in quality tap dance instruction. We have more drop in tap classes than any studio in Vancouver. We have primarily adults with a few kids’ classes. We focus on the art of tap dancing, performance and history. We don’t generally do any competitions, we just engross ourselves in all things tap!




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Laura Zeke Photography

Bloch, MIrella, Leo’s Canada

MOVE Athletics

Core Acro

Mary Kay Cosmetics

Dream Duffel Canada

NAPA Dance

CatchingART “Aspirant Company Experience” Program: Saturday June 13, 10.00am – 12.30pm

En Pointe Enterprises

Quarry Clothing

Forever Dancewear

Rac N Roll

Fresh Dance Intensive

RNB Dance

Upper School Programs: Advanced: Sunday June 14, 12.30pm – 2.00pm Inter: Sunday June 14, 2.15pm – 3.45pm

Gemini Visuals

Royal City Youth Ballet

GSG Productions

Techno Monkey Media

The Hollywood Summer Tour

Victoria Academy of Ballet

Pro Arte Gala:

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VIEW Dance Challenge sponsored by:

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 7:30 pm Kay Meek Theatre, West Vancouver

July 6-10 & Aug 10-14

$40 (+ taxes) sessionals $250 (+ taxes) craft/dance camps $400 (+ taxes) for both camps

Introductory Sessions

June 22-26 | July 13-17 |Aug 4-7 | Aug 17-21 34 just dance! | Summer 2015

8-3160 Westwood Street, Port Coquitlam P: 604 468.7400 E:

Dance & Craft Camps

Ballet students at Just for Kicks studio.

So You Want To Open a Dance Studio? By Jacqueline Steuart


any dancers dream of one day owning and operating their own dance studio. If studio ownership is your dream vocation, then know there is no dancing around the fact that running a studio requires passion and extensive knowledge of dance, a proven ability and desire to work with children, copious amounts of energy, and a solid business plan. just dance! reached out to some studio owners from across the country to share their insight and advice on studio ownership. We are grateful to Jodi Scambler, owner and artistic director, Just for Kicks School of Dance in Surrey, BC; Erin Feltham, owner and artistic director, Invitation to Dance in Calgary, AB; and Kristin Werner, owner and dance teacher, Star Performance Academy in Waterloo, ON for generously offering their advice and sharing their experiences to help inform you.

Credentials and Essentials “Running a dance studio is a challenging passion-driven business and for me dance is such an art form that I think it is helpful for potential owners to have danced at least at little,” says Jodi, who

Invitation to Dance, Dancer Grace Hill.

studied many dance genres from an early age before opening her first studio. Similarly, Erin also began dancing as a youngster and now holds accreditation with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), while lifelong dancer, performer, and Star Performance Academy owner Kristin holds teaching certificates from the Canadian Dance Teachers Association (CDTA) and Dance Masters of America (DMA) plus a certificate in small business management. In addition to having a solid background in dance, teaching, and performance, aspiring owners should be prepared to wear a lot of hats, especially in the beginning. “Not only did I do the books and the teaching, but I found myself doing the plumbing, cleaning, and maintenance,” says Erin. Being passionate and knowledgeable about the studio lifestyle, wanting to work independently, and being open to flexible working hours are all essentials adds Erin, but she cautions future owners, “Sometimes those flexible hours can be merciless.”

Find Your Niche The length of time it takes you to open your doors really depends on the business you wish to create. Will you teach from your home, take over an existing business, or lease or buy studio space and start from scratch? Whatever your ambition and bank account may dictate the first order of business is to perform a competitive analysis of the current marketplace. A key component of your business strategy is to decide what kind of dance school you want to be. Ask yourself what you can offer that will set your business apart from the plethora of others.

Do you wish to be a competitive studio, or a non-competitive studio? Will you offer ballet and tap exams; how many styles of dance will you accommodate; will you be a performing arts school that offers acting, dance and music like Kristin’s Star Performance Academy in Waterloo, or a non-competitive studio like Erin’s Calgarybased Invitation to Dance, or will you host a large recreational program with an equally strong competitive stream like Jodi’s Just for Kicks in Surrey? Your assessment of the other schools in your area should include: their location, program offerings, and class structure— recreational vs. competitive or both—class sizes, fees and special rates. Also take note of any unique dance or performancerelated classes including master classes, guest teachers or speakers. For Jodi, running a competitive studio meets the demands of her client base. “A lot has changed over the years and competition has become very important to parents and kids, so not being competitive could definitely affect your business.” Erin, on the other hand, runs a successful non-competitive studio. Erin feels that her studio’s philosophy of inclusivity— meaning nobody is left in or out of competition-- is pretty rare by today’s standards, and she says her clients are happy with non-competitive model because the costs are lower. “I get great feedback from parents and even though we’re less visible because we don’t attend competitions, a lot of people seem to like the niche we’re in. We have a home for kids who want to dance once a week for fun and for those who dream of having a professional career.” Likewise, Kristin’s studio offers a range of opportunities to dancers, musicians, and actors, young and old, and even offers a Teachers Mentorship Program where older students are trained to assist in the younger children’s programs and beginner classes. Recognizing others’ strengths and weaknesses (and your own) will help you to develop your niche.

Location, Location, Location When selecting a suitable location consider the building’s accessibility, parking, ceiling height, number of potential or existing studios, office space, dressing rooms and washrooms, storage, and lounge areas. Summer 2015 | just dance! 35

Kristin recommends at least 14-foot ceilings for studios with big production numbers, Acro, or partner work. Her tip for finding affordable spaces is to scout Yoga or Martial Arts studios that may be offered for lease or for sale, as they will require only cosmetic changes to start. Having one large studio that is comparable to stage dimensions width-wise is also advised so that choreography can transfer smoothly from stage to studio.

Equipment Start–up costs could run into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on your studio’s needs, according to Kristin, so purchasing must-have equipment like barres, mirrors and do-it-yourself sprung flooring locally to save on shipping costs is highly recommended. She also advises buying your professional audio equipment from a theatrical supply store. “Home audio cannot withstand the amount of button pushing, volume cranking and overall use a dance studio requires.”

Find Students Poaching students from a dance studio where you may already teach would not be considered a best practice, but there

are other fair ways to find students for your new school.

Invitation to Dance Left to right – Meagan Frey, Rachel Denbina, Natalie Higgs.

Jodi advises that marketing your business by participating in community events like parades, appearing in the local newspaper, and word-of-mouth are still valuable tools for creating buzz, but the easiest way to attract attention is to have a professional online presence. “People need to know where to find you, so ranking high in a Google search and being accessible on Google maps is essential for business,” says Erin who found the hardest part of building her business, which she took over from a previous owner, was finding leads to new students.

Star Performance Academy.

Hire the Best Staff “You have to hire loyal staff who share the same value system and philosophy of teaching as you do,” stresses Erin. You want to have a good team around you that can represent you and your studio; therefore the quality of staff you hire is one of your greatest assets. “If your studio offers ballet [or tap] exams then it is imperative that you have accredited teachers who can enter students into exams,” says Jodi, who secures her staff at least six months before the start of a new season. And don’t forget to show your staff how much you appreciate their contribution to the success of your business. “I say ‘we’ a lot when talking about my own business,” says Kristin, “Because I really give credit to my whole staff for all the things we do—I cannot do it without them.”

Stay on Top of Industry Trends Dance is always evolving, so your professional development and knowledge about industry trends is vitally important to the appeal, growth, and success of your business. In-the-know studio owners and staff read industry magazines (like just dance!), participate in courses offered through professional associations like ISTD, RAD, CDTA, and regularly attend dance conventions and competitions. TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Dance Moms and The Next Step are also influencing the way young dancers and their parents think about dance, so you will want to be able to address your future clients’ interests by being tuned in to what it is they’re seeing on TV. (Then of course you can educate your new students and parents by telling them it takes years of practice to do what they’ve just seen on TV!)

Offer Fair & Competitive Pricing Set your fees so that you can cover all your costs and also remain competitive within the marketplace. Consider attractive pricing options like bundled class rates, sibling discounts and referral rates, plus award scholarships and bursaries at year-end shows 36 just dance! | Summer 2015

to reward your dancers and to let your families know that you value them as part of your dance studio’s community.

Dance Moms (& Dads) Dance parents can sometimes get a bad rap; however, parents and caregivers are more often than not a vital resource to the health of a dance organization. At Erin’s studio, for example, her performance troupe, called Dance Alive, has a team of parents who are part of a not-for-profit association Calgary Dance Alive, which helps to plan the year-end recital. These parents, like those at other studios, volunteer their time to sell tickets, build costumes and props, drive, and organize fundraisers and other events that help build a sense of community within the studio. It’s best to establish where and when you need parental involvement early on, suggests Jodi, who publishes a studio handbook for incoming families. “Nobody likes drama,” and she says setting the tone for your season at the beginning of the year is a good idea. “It’s important as a dance teacher to be open and approachable. We want to build a good rapport with our families because they are trusting us with

their children, but we do have to find a balance and establish boundaries because we are Jodi Scambler, still a business.”

The Bottom Line

owner of Just For Kicks Dance Studio.

Jodi, Erin and Kristin, who are all working moms, agree that running a dance studio is a labour of love. “This job is never boring,” says Kristin “It’s always challenging and rewarding, but above all it’s about the kids. I love watching the children grow into amazing dancers and human beings. There is nothing better than that.”

Kristin Werner, owner of Star Performance Academy.




- SURREY B.C (604) 809-0138 visit #110–16825 104th AVE, for more details

Summer 2015 | just dance! 37

{ His t o r y o f D a n c e }

Salsa History of Dance:

It’s All in the Name

What is salsa? One thing that comes to mind is a spicy, tomato-based dip. This article, however, is not about food, but about the origins of salsa the dance. Food did play a part in the naming of the style of music and dance; the zesty dip describes the hot, spicy genre of dance perfectly.

Using the language of the kitchen to describe music is not unusual. Expletives like “cooking!” and “tasty!” are common in jazz music. There are as many theories about the origin of the word “salsa” as there are styles of music included in the category. The top Cuban group in the 1930s, Sexteto Habanero, recorded a song still performed today called “Echale salsita!” which means literally, “Put the sauce on it!” and the Cuban superstar Beny Moré signed off his explosive shows in the forties and fifties with a sparky catchphrase, “Hola Salsa!” which translates limply as “Hey sauce!” The first deliberate use of “salsa” to describe modernized Cuban dance music came in 1966, when a Venezuelan radio DJ, Phidias Danilo Escalona, launched a show called “La hora del sabor, la salsa y el bembe,” an untranslatable phrase that literally means “The hour of flavour, spiciness and liturgy” – music for body and soul.

by Rochelle Heron 38 just dance! | Summer 2015

By the end of the 1970s, the word salsa was synonymous with the sound of Latin New York, as created by Fania Records. One of Fania’s trademarks was its use of distinctive and brilliantly graphic album covers, designed by a cocky young Puerto Rican New Yorker called Izzy Sanabria who also doubled up as MC to the legendary Fania All Stars supergroup. All through their shows, he would bark, “Salsa!” first to introduce soloists and then to drive them on. Throughout the 1970s, in his pioneering magazine Latin NY, Sanabria used the word “salsa” to describe the music he covered: Latin New York’s take on Cuban dance music, played mostly by Puerto Rican New York musicians. Fania’s salsa set the standards for the rest of Latin America.

Deep Historical Roots

Today the term “salsa” covers most kinds of Latin dance music, not just its immediate Cuban ancestors. The early history of salsa is important to describe, however, since it begins its tangled cultural root system in Cuba, grows through the Spanish-speaking islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and travels to Miami and New York, where an entirely different slant has been put on the rootstock through neighbourly contact with African-American music. Different styles like merengue and bomba, mambo and plena, all reflect the details of their local history, because even though they share common ancestors in Spain and Africa, neither the Spanish nor the Africans were one homogenous group. The Spanish included descendants of the Moors (North African Arabs), who colonized them for more than four hundred years, as well as Africanized Canary Islanders; the Africans had been shipped in as slaves from regions more different from each other than Spain and England. That magnificent gene pool created this most exhilarating and influential music. Uniting the various styles is an underlying rhythmic frame known as the clave, clapped out enthusiastically by the audiences in sinuous 1-2-3, 1-2 phrases. Like the Spanish language – the language of salsa – the clave means different things in difference places. The New York composer/ pianist Isidro Infante hears the clave drifting like a ghost through flamencos; Cuban percussionist Daniel Ponce hears it in Jimi Hendrix solos. But everybody hears it in salsa: according to the veteran conga player Joe Cuba, “Clave makes the (Latin music) world go round.”

The Dance

“Salsa is what you eat; mambo is what you dance” is Tito Puente’s (famed jazz and mambo musician) response to the word salsa. The story of the transformation of Cuban music from the salon to the street follows several routes, one of the most defined being from the contradanza and danzón to the mambo and the cha-cha-cha.

Danza to Danzón

{ His t o r y o f D a n c e } emigrants from the Caribbean blended several music styles together to create salsa music and ultimately, the dance. Between 1930 and 1960 there were musicians from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and South America coming to New York to perform. They brought their own native rhythms and musical forms with them, but as they listened to each other and played music together, the musical influences mixed, fused and evolved.

The contradanza derives from the French contredanse. The latter arrived in 1791, when Saint-Domingue (now Haiti/Santo Domingo) erupted in revolution and French noble families, together with their servants, fled to the southeast coast of Cuba. The contredanse, the favourite music and dance of the French, had begun in the English courts but had been souped up with African flavours in Saint- Domingue. The Cubans renamed it “contradanza cubana,” then simply contradanza.

This musical hybridization gave birth to the

Contradanzas were performed at formal occasions, usually to slow the pace at the end of an evening, after the minuets, rigadoons, lancers and quadrilles. The dancers, in crinolines and formal suits, lined up facing each other and wove under arcs of flowers.

son, rhumba, and more.

1950s creation of the mambo from son, conjunto and jazz traditions. Continuing musical fusions went on to include what we know today as the cha-cha-cha, rhumba, conga and, in the 1960s, salsa. The late Celia Cruz, known by many as the Queen of Salsa, said that salsa does not exist as a rhythm, but that it is rather an exclamation for music such as guaracha, bolero, cha-cha-cha, danzón,

From this contradanza emerged the danza, one of the first Creole forms – faster and more tuneful, with niftier steps and a tendency for couples to dance by themselves. The danza then became the danzón. Cuban bandleader Miguel Failde, slowed the pace of the danza and broke it down into three parts separated by an all-important pause, which is the erotic heart of the danzón. He introduced the clarinet and a brass solo, as well as a more upbeat rhythm. The line-dance had become a couple-dance, with the pair close enough during the pause to feel one another’s breath, but away from the chaperone’s vigilant glare. More instruments, such as the piano, and a vocal solo and chorus banter were added over the years, along with a fresher, racier pace.

Danzón to Salsa

Because of the social and political pressures and restraints enforced in Cuba and Puerto Rico in the 1930s, many people emigrated or fled into the cities of the USA, including New York. These

The Elements of Salsa Regardless of style, there are a few elements that have always been a part of the basic salsa steps: 1. Salsa is usually a partnered dance with a lead and follow, dancing using improvisation of various movement combinations. 2. The beat of Salsa music is 4/4, but there are three weight changes in each measure. What happens during that extra beat is part of what differentiates the styles of the dance. 3. While the body changes weight, the upper torso remains almost immobile. This means that most of the motion ends up in the hips, which is how the phrase “Cuban Motion” got applied to this Latin dance form. Summer 2015 | just dance! 39

2 16


London April 8-10

Oshawa May 6-8 Register with us at

Burlington May 20-22 40 just dance! | Summer 2015

Niagara Falls May 27-29


evaluate your current state.

Are you burntout and over-trained from the danceyear? Take a month off. Optimal rest and recovery are two things that dancers don’t do enough, and if you’re sore, tired, and mentally foggy every day, you absolutely need to rest up. You have permission to take a break from dance, guilt-free.

how not to burn-out this summer

active recovery wit h fun, unstructured activit y. Spend the first 2-4 weeks of

summer doing things you love. Take advantage of the warm weather to swim, jog, bike, roller-blade, etc. These activities are great because they keep you moving but allow you to rest the muscles and patterns you chronically overuse in dance.

strength train. I’m a firm believer in

By Monika Volkmar


s a young dancer aspiring to perform professionally, I remember my feelings towards summer being mixed. On one hand summer meant freedom and warm weather. On the other, I would dread the possibility that without regular dance classes my technique would deteriorate, I’d get out of shape, and I would come back to classes in the fall to find that all my classmates had improved while I had not. “Dance as much as possible” is the solution our dance teachers generally offer, telling us that if we take too much time off dance in the summer it will surely be bad news for us in the fall. One dancer I work with even told me a story of a dance school asking to see receipts from summer training intensives, threatening to hold students back in a lower level if they hadn’t danced enough. Maybe threatening is a bit strong. After all, these teachers only want their students to be the best they can be. But this emphasis on needing to dance all summer can make dancers sign up for summer programs out of fear. The fear of falling behind, being on their teachers’ bad side, getting out of shape and losing flexibility. In reality, not all dancers need to dance all summer long, nor should they. In many sports there is an “in-season” in which the athletes train and prepare for competition, and an “off-season” which is for general strength development and active recovery from the in-season.

Dancers often don’t get an “off-season.” They rarely get a break, feel guilty if they don’t dance through injuries, and hit performance plateaus despite (or sometimes because of) their participation in summer intensive programs. This is just what my colleague, Erika Mayall (physiotherapist), and I were discussing recently. Rather than improve their performance in the summer, many dancers come back to class in the fall burnt out. Erika, who works with a dance studio in BC, mentioned the following in an email conversation regarding dancers burning out: “Our biggest problem this year was that a lot of the dancers participated in summer intensives and started the year already a bit burnt out. Our studio doesn’t endorse the students participating in these programs, but a lot of them choose to anyway.” For example, a dancer I worked with last summer had the opportunity to participate in a fantastic summer intensive but was already injured from the previous school year. Because I feared she was on her way to a career-ending injury, I urged her to get a refund and rest instead. She decided to stay in the program, but needed to see a chiropractor throughout her first semester back at school. Perhaps it was worth it for her, but it’s not a risk that I encourage anyone to take So what SHOULD you do in the summer to avoid burning out?

resistance training to build dancers up, and especially in the summer. It’s a good time, while you’re not dancing as much, to train up to 3 or 4 times per week. A good trainer and program will help you to develop peak strength in time for you to go back to school in your best shape for the fall.

yoga. Many dancers hate yoga because

it forces them to slow down, control their (hyper) flexibility, and breathe. But that’s why it’s so good for you to do! Try doing yoga once or twice per week all summer. You’ll notice a difference in the fall.

dance when it inspires you.

I advise dancers to dance not because they feel guilty, but because they genuinely want to. Is there a choreographer, teacher, or program that truly interests you? Do it! Don’t join dance intensives for the pure reason that someone says you should. Follow your own instincts and dance when it feels right. That sometimes means not dancing at all. Ultimately, you have to listen to your body and make decisions for yourself. But the summer off-season is an important period that can either be used intelligently to improve your skills and prevent burn-out, or grind you down. The choice is yours. Monika Volkmar (BFA, CSCS) is a strength and conditioning specialist (NSCA), Thai massage therapist, and NeuroKinetic Therapy™ practitioner. Monika earned her BFA in dance performance at Ryerson University but after a severe injury forced her to stop dancing, she began a new career in strength and performance training. Through The Dance Training Project, Monika now teaches dancers the importance of strength training for career longevity and technical excellence. Summer 2015 | just dance! 41

Visit our website for direct links to listings’ websites:

ACADEMIES, SCHOOLS & STUDIOS Armstrong Dance 250 546 0308 Armstrong, BC Artistic Edge 604 809 0138 Surrey, BC

Arts Umbrella 604 681 5268 x0 Vancouver, BC Ballet Bloch Canada North Vancouver, BC Boswell Dance Academy 604 522 4424 New Westminster, BC Centennial College 416-289-500 ext. 4343 Toronto, ON Dance Collective (formerly Douglas Ballet Academy) | 604 420 0204 Burnaby, BC

DanceFX 778 232 0868 Maple Ridge, BC The danceLAB | 604 525 5289 Coquitlam, BC DanzMode Productions 604 294 4677 Burnaby, BC Defy Gravity 604 272.0808 Richmond, BC

Driftwood Dance Academy 604 770 4650 North Vancouver, BC Encore Dance Academy 604 468 7400 Port Coquitlam, BC Fusion Force Studio 604 533 1863 Langley, BC

The Landing Dance Centre 604 325 8653 Vancouver, BC Marr Mac Dance & TheatrE Arts 780 434 9281 Edmonton, AB OneDance Creative Art Centre 604 987 8747 North Vancouver, BC Place des Arts 604 664 1636 Coquitlam, BC Pro ArtĂŠ Centre 604 984 ARTE (2783) North Vancouver, BC PULSE dance centre 604 474 3466 Port Coquitlam, BC

Richmond Academy of Dance dance@ 604 278 7816 Richmond, BC RNB Dance 604 980 3040 North Vancouver, BC Royal City Youth Ballet 604 521 7290 New Westminster, BC Royal Winnipeg Ballet School | 204 957 3467 The Spiral Dance Co. 604 541 2800 White Rock, BC Spotlight Dance Centre 604 299 6111 Burnaby, BC Tri-City Dance Centre 604 523 6868 Coquitlam, BC Victoria Academy of Ballet 250 590 6752 Victoria, BC

COMPETITIONs, Conventions & Workshops Canadian National Dance Championship (CNDC) Core Dance Competition Nanaimo, BC danceXpo British Columbia Fusion Dance Camp 604 459 8200 GSG Productions 778.558.0520 Vancouver, BC The Hollywood Summer Tour 1 818 574 8365 Los Angeles, CA

Millennium Dance Productions millenniumproductions@ | 1 866 326 7883 Lantz, NS

Northern Stars Dance Competition 905 901 2370 Oakville, ON Showtime Dance Promotions info@ 250 768 7202 Toronto Teacher Dance Expo 519 365 0272 Toronto, ON

Vibe Dance Competition 250 769 3633 Kelowna, BC VIEW Dance Challenge 1 855 405 VIEW | 1 416 405 8439 5678 Showtime 604 721 7909

Performing arts retailers & SUPPLIERS Avalon Dance Shop of Canada 604 874 2461 Vancouver, BC

Bloch, Mirella, Leo's Canada 1 800 833 2260 danceCraft 604 590 1733 Surrey, BC Dream Duffel 877 378 1260 Dream Duffel Canada dancers-dream-duffel 1 877 352 4377 En Pointe Enterprises 1 866 491 9019 Forever Dancewear 604 770 0703 North Vancouver, BC Jazz Ma Tazz Abbotsford: 604 855 9166 Maple Ridge: 604 466 0861 Rac N Roll Toll Free 1 866 545 9302 Aurora, ON

Professional companies Ballet Victoria 250 380 6063 Victoria, BC

Services The Dance Training Project Toronto, ON Gemini Visuals 604 312 6330 Surrey, BC Kids Physio Group Vancouver, Surrey, & North Vancouver, BC Revival Arts 604 864 6339 877 310 3500 Techno Monkey Media 1 800 350 3137

l a n s o i p i t h a s n n n o i a i p d m a a n ca nce ch da

the CanaDian DanCe organization presents:

ContaCt CDo: regional Competitions: Alison Sharp team CanaDa & worlD Championships: Bonnie Dyer

a stress free, family friendly regional competition for dancers of all skill levels. we offer custom medals and trophies for all dancers! each dancer in a duet or trio, if placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd will each receive their own trophy to take home.

2015 tour Dates in: • • • •

British Columbia Alberta • Saskatchewan Manitoba • Ontario Quebec • Halifax

Royal City Youth Ballet Company Society presents

Don’t miss this opportunity to develop your skills as a dancer, training with world-renowned teachers and other dedicated dancers.

August 24 to 30, 2015 at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts 6450 Deer Lake Park, Burnaby • Ballet Repertoire • Pas De Deux Lyrical Jazz • Musical Theatre Special Boys’ Classes

All levels from Tiny-Tots to Majors Featuring Camilla Fishwick-Kellogg (RTRAD) Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Technique

Trisha Sinosich-Arciaga (RAD, RTS, ARAD) Ballet Technique

Liz Tookey Lyrical Jazz Keitha Campeau Musical Theatre Michael Meakin Ballet Technique, Boys’ Classes, Pas de Deux

There will be a presentation on the last day of summer school, followed by

auditions to be a part of the company, and next year’s Nutcracker tour! (Auditions are for dancers age 7 and up)

Register early, as space is limited Artistic Director, Camilla Fishwick-Kellogg Executive Producer, Trisha Sinosich-Arciaga

For more information: phone (604)521-7290 or email:

w w w . r o ya l c i t y y o u t h b a l l e t . o r g

Profile for just dance! magazine

just dance! | Summer 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue III  

The fourteenth issue of this great resource for local dancers.

just dance! | Summer 2015 | Vol 4 | Issue III  

The fourteenth issue of this great resource for local dancers.


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