New York, New York. Broadway. It is, if not the dance Mecca of the world, one of them.
Every couple of years, Yorkton’s Dance Innovations takes students on a trip, usually alternating between New York and Los Angeles.
“The reason those seem like great destinations for dance is because that’s where people who are looking for professional dance experience usually go,” said Tammy Sullivan Kostersky, Dance Innovations director.
In July, 31 students, aged eight to 18 got exactly that. It started with a cruise from New York City to Bermuda on which the troupe performed a 30-minute set of dances for the guests.
“Basically we’re wanting to add to their dance education, so bring them something outside of what they get every day, week to week at the dance studio,” Kostersky said.
Back in NYC, the group attended the prestigious Tremaine Dance Convention taking three full days of classes in various disciplines including ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap and contemporary.
At the end of the day, the dancers competed showing off the same routines as they performed on the cruise.
“They work very hard in the dance studio preparing to go on this trip,” Sullivan Kostersky said. “Lots of kids are just outside in June and we’re in the studio rehearsing and practicing and training.”
The hard work paid off with 12 trophies, nine in the senior category, two in the junior category and one in the teen category (see sidebar for a complete list).
The cruise, convention and competition were not the end of it, however.
“They also took classes at Broadway Dance Center, just so they could see what other options are out there for them,” Sullivan Kostersky explained adding they also had a chance to just have some fun.
“Part of their training at Broadway Dance Center was they learned one of the dances from [Matilda] from a cast member and later on we went to the show and we actually saw the dancer perform the piece that the kids learned, so that was very cool.”
Some of the kids also took a precision class from one of the famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
Sullivan Kostersky said it was inspiring for her dancers.
“You never know, one day one of our dancers may be up there,” she said.
Of course, just being in the Big Apple was exciting, but even so, Sullivan Kostersky said the kids were pretty focussed.
“It’s pretty overwhelming for some of the younger ones, but they really loved it and they really just grasped on to all the opportunities that they had there,” she said. “The highlight was really all their dancing and knowing that a studio from Yorkton can go into New York and compete and take home a trophy; it’s pretty special. That’s what they worked for so that’s what they were excited about.”
Dance training was not the only lesson to be gleaned from the trip, however.
“The children did fundraising for this,” Sullivan Kostersky said. “The reason we did fundraising was because I think it’s important that they’re not just given things. I think it’s important that they learn to work for these opportunities.
“But also in order to go on the trip, they weren’t just given the money. They didn’t ask organizations to donate money, they asked organizations if they could provide a service and receive an honorarium, so they worked for their trip as well.”
Dance Innovations Awards at Tremaine Dance Convention, New York City, July 18-20, 2014
First place, Jazz, Line category, for “Ooh Ahh”
Second place, Hip Hop, Group category, for “Who’s in Charge”
First place, Lyrical Jazz, Line category, for “Once Upon a Time”
Overall high score in Senior Duo/Trio category and First Place in Duo/Trio Tap for “Dhoom Tana”
First place, Tap, Solo category, for “Soul Sister”
First place, Contemporary, Solo category, for “Soley”
Third place, Contemporary, Solo category, for “Learning to be a child”
Second place, Contemporary, Duo/Trio category, for “Heart’s a Mess
First place, Hip Hop, Line category, for “Our City”
First place, Jazz, Line category, for “Bang Bang”
Second place, Tap, Production category, for “Hex”