SODANCE students showed the world what they could do at the 2017 Dance World Cup.
A group of 10 dancers ages 13 to 18 represented the Okanagan at the event, which took place in Whistler, B.C.
Studio owner Olivia Grayce and the instructors were proud to see their students take First Place Contemporary Modern Group and in Open/Theatre Group, Second Place in Contemporary/Modern Group, Contemporary Modern Duet/Trio and Tap Duet/Trio, and Third Place in Hip Hop Solo.
The dancers also earned two Overall High-Score invitations to perform in the Final Evening Gala Showcase. A highlight was having the Hip Hop Group invited to represent Team Canada in Bucharest, Romania.
“We’ve had a fantastic year of dance,” said Grayce. “All of our students are highly motivated to always do their best. With the competition students, there comes a moment in training when you see they are ready and want to focus on competition and we are there to encourage them to meet their goals.
“We travel regularly to regional, national and international events so the students can see what’s out there. They enjoy getting to know teams from other countries. At the Worlds, they got to know a team from India.”
Students brought home more than 350 medals, trophies and plaques from events last season and scored three overall first place marks and a judge’s pick for outstanding performance. Advanced dancers received scholarships to study in Paris and Barcelona in the summer of 2018.
Dance has been Grayce’s life ever since she can remember. She was born in Vancouver where both of her parents were dancers, teachers and performers.
“My parents taught me that a career in dance is a lot of hard work, but it is very rewarding. I loved everything about it right from the start,” she said.
“At the studio we don’t just teach children, we inspire them to love dance, if they choose to do it recreationally, as a career, or want to be able to understand and appreciate dance performances for the rest of their lives. And we emphasize that their academic studies are as important as their dance classes.”
Grayce is an example of how it can be done. At 25, she has already danced and done choreography professionally in Europe and North America and earned her master’s degree in psychology.
“We have a great team of instructors and students who work together as a family so everyone does their best,” she said, adding that she has seen the more advanced students helping the younger ones with pre-performance nerves at competitions, and the students encourage each other at classes throughout the year.
Her parents started SODANCE in 2003 and she bought the studio three years ago.
“We are looking forward to our 15th season. We’ve just finished summer classes in July and classes start again September 7. We have many students who are with us for years and we get to know them and their parents — the parents are so supportive — very well. We keep in touch with our alumni, some of them are dancing professionally in Canada, Europe and Australia and some are teaching and/or continuing their post-secondary education.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with what the students accomplish each year, and I know the coming year is going to be just as exciting.”
SODANCE has a variety of recreational classes for ages 18 months (with parents) to 18 years and some adult classes, and competition classes for ages seven to 18. Registration is on now for the 2017-2018 season. See www.sodance.ca for details.