A collection of female artists from across Williams Lake with a connection to dance came together to support Dance In Common last week.
Corinne Stromsten is the owner and operator of Dance In Common where she and her staff teach ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and ballroom dancing. A lifelong dancer since the age of seven, Stromsten lives in Horsefly and taught there for a while, before befriending and being mentored by the studio’s previous owner, Maureen Saunders.
“Our numbers have increased for ballet, we’ve actually started a boys program this year, which was new, and we’ve had success with that,” Stromsten said.
Her goal was to have 10 boys signed up for a course that included them learning all forms of dance, including ballet, and so far she’s had nine sign up. Stromsten’s hoped to “break down those walls” surrounding the stigma boys doing ballet.
“Every year when you get to registration you never know what numbers you’re going to get,” Stromsten observed.
The art show, A Visual Dance held on Saturday, Nov. 10 was a fundraiser for the dance studio and intended to directly support the students through scholarships. Made up of the works of mothers of past and current dancers, adult dancers and the works of young adult alumni of the studio, the artistic diversity on display was varied and stunning. The show’s all-women makeup, while thematic, was entirely unintentional according to Stromsten.
“In the past three years, we’ve been able to offer scholarships to students who either want to continue their training and take training outside of the studio or it’s for students who need an extra hand so they can afford to pay for lessons (here),” Stromsten said. “We also wanted to highlight all the artists that are within our dance families and to show that moms, you know, also need an opportunity to share their works and what they love too.”
In that vein, the overall theme of the show was “What are you passionate about?” When asking for and accepting submissions this was Stromsten’s one guideline, that whatever they submitted were pieces they truly loved creating, whether it was abstract art, oil paintings, charcoal or photography.
Stromsten said she and her studio were excited for the night but were not sure what numbers to expect from the community. With a $15-admission and a silent auction set up, this catered night by Mint and Lime Catering Co was risky but well attended by artists.
“Within our community, we need to be building the culture within Williams Lake. For so long people have said that ‘Oh well this is Williams Lake, nothing ever happens here.’ So I said why can’t we create events that highlight the talents that we have and why can’t we create the culture in our own town?” Stromsten proposed.
According to Stromsten, there were many artists who wished to be involved with the show that weren’t able to make it out for Saturday. However, she sees the potential for a second show sometime in February, though she has made no concrete plans for the night at this time beyond welcoming the inclusion of a few male artists.
The show ultimately raised $500 for dancers and while it did not meet her goal, Stromsten said that every dollar that goes towards supporting these students counts and she will continue to look for new ways to support them.
“As a community, we all need to support each other, whether it’s the artists supporting the dancers or the dancers supporting the artists, the painters, the photographers. We all have something to offer and we can all support one another within our community.”