It’s the first year for the Synergy Stars Dance Factory, but it’s already turned into a hit with participants and community members.
Seventy dancers took part in the group’s 12-week session this fall, which culminated with two performances of dancing through the ages, featuring popular numbers from the past century, such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Ray Charles’s “Hit The Road Jack.”
The numbers are up from the 45 participants in the group’s first run last spring, which was a 10-week program that ended with a production of Disney’s Moana.
“That went amazing,” coach Jessica Crawford said after the group’s first performance Saturday, Dec. 9.
“It was really their first full run through with all the numbers in order, so they all did incredible. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the parents and volunteers we had tonight.”
Dancers took turns over the course of two hours performing in different numbers, with some focusing more on intricate choreography, and others featuring lip-syncing.
“The biggest thing that we try and teach the kids is to have fun, learn to dance and get some coordination and expression,” said Crawford.
She and director Caitlin Weitzel said nerves don’t seem to be a factor for the participants, who range in age from two to 18.
“I haven’t heard any of them say they were nervous today,” said Weitzel. “They were asking, ‘When do I get to go on?’”
Even between their turns on the stage, many of the younger dancers could be seen dancing in the crowd and mimicking the movements of the older performers.
Crawford, who has a dance certification and background in the sport, said teaching “Thriller” was probably the hardest routine. The performance featured bloodied shirts and smoke machines to make the mood perfect.
“Those are the actual steps from Thriller,” said Crawford. “That was a little bit of a challenge but they got it within three or four sessions, which was pretty amazing.”
As the group seems popular, Crawford is looking to start up a third course with her eye on either Frozen or The Little Mermaid, as she would like to alternate between Disney and other productions.
She was thankful for the community’s support.
“I think that all the kids did amazing, and without the support of the volunteers and the community coming out and watching them, the program wouldn’t run, so we really appreciate that,” said Crawford.
The group also raised $150 and a box of food bank items for the Inuvik Food Bank at the performance, while giving its leftover bake sale items to the John Wayne Kiktorak Centre.