Ever wondered what dancers do to learn the beautiful routines you see on the stage?
The Dance in Common dance studio is hosting a series of open houses for the public at the dance studio on Oliver Street from Monday, Dec. 11 to Friday, Dec. 15.
“We’ll run our classes as if they were just the usual class. The students will show everything they’ve been working on from September until now. They’ll have a warm up as usual, we have centre work, and we have routines that we work on,” said dance instructor and studio owner Corinne Stromsen.
They won’t, however, be showing the dance routine they plan on performing during their big show in the spring.
The open house runs from 3:10 to 8:30 p.m. through the week.
For those looking to check out a particular type of dance, ballet is held Mondays. On Tuesdays, ballet runs until 5 p.m. when hip hop starts and is followed by senior jazz. Stromsen said of particular interest may be the intermediate and advanced ballet class which runs at 6:50 p.m. and the Latin course which is new to the studio at 7:50 p.m.
On Wednesday there is a mix of ballet, street jazz, contemporary at 6:25 p.m. and intermediate hip hop.
On Thursday, standard jazz is followed by ballet. Of particular note is the senior ballet class at 6:05 p.m., the senior pointe class at 7:15 p.m. and the performing class for senior students at 8 p.m.
On Friday, ballet is followed by contemporary, teen ballet, ballroom and Latin.
Behind the scenes
Dance classes at the studio last from about 45 minutes to an hour and many of the older dancers dance as many as 12 or 13 classes a week.
Stromsen has been teaching in Williams Lake for the past 14 years and said it’s her dream job.
During each class, the dancers do a warm up, and work on strengthening their body core.
During a contemporary dance class attended by the Tribune, Stromsen also gave dancers specific words and had them create their own series of movements from the words.
“We are hoping to have students become confident in their movement, in choreography and learning to trust their own abilities instead of always relying on myself,” said Stromsen.
“I will guide them through a number of activities and we want them to have a safe space where they can really just explore movement.”
When they are learning a routine, student Angelica Hyde said the dancers build on it week by week.
“We just do it over and over again. If you are starting out you do a little segment and you do that segment over and over again until the next week, you build onto that segment so that you know more little by little, at the end you have a complete dance routine.”
Macy Lainchbury has been dancing since she was 4 and hopes to have a career in dance.
“I really like sports and physical activity and art so that put together is dance,” she said.
“It’s very challenging,” said Lainchbury. “You have to work really hard to get things to look nice and to look stronger.”
For Sharae Wycotte, learning to dance pointe was the most challenging thing she’s had to do in dance.
“I had lots of struggles with pointe but I got better and better and better. I think that’s the most struggle-filled thing that I ever started.”
Despite the challenges, Wycotte continues with dance because she loves it.
“I love dance, the passion and the experience that I get to do and meet new friends and everything. It just brings lots of joy, we’re like family here.”
Stromsen said that one of the other challenges for young dance students is learning to balance everything in life.
“They don’t always have good days when they come in the door and it’s learning when they come into the space they can get rid of anything that happened in their day. They almost always come out smiling.”
While musicality and coordination, as well as physical health, are important, Stromsen also teaches students with disability and injuries.
However, despite the time some of the older students spend in the studio, Stromsen said that dance is not just for those who have had the training.
“I have lots of people who think that dance is not something that they can do, but I’ve opened up dancing to adults this year who have never had ballet training. Dance is possible for absolutely anyone. If they have a willing heart and a mind then they can all learn how to dance.”