One of the acts of Level 1 Jazz Medium group was 'Rockstar

Sparkle Dance Festival showcases Alberta’s dance talent

Dancers from across the province showcased their skills at the Performing Arts Centre (PAC).

When dancers, Antoinelle Leibel and Kirsti Bennett decided to start a competitive dance festival, they wanted it to be “light-hearted” and “fun,” which was exactly how this past weekend of dance competitions, hosted at Stettler’s Performing Arts Centre (PAC) were.

From Friday to Sunday, March 31 to April 2, dancers of various skill levels and genres came together from Camrose, Blackfalds, Irma and Wainwright, Rimbey, Wetaskiwin, Drumheller, Oyen and Stettler and area to have fun and dance away.

“We started Sparkle Dance Festival after years of dreaming that we would one day do so,” said Antoinelle Leibel, one of the festival directors. “As kids, we grew up dancing at festivals and they were always so fun and light-hearted. As dance instructors in adulthood, we felt festivals were becoming less fun and more competitive, and geared towards the big city studios.”

It is this that made the festival directors decide to just jump in and make their dream a reality.

In their first year, they held one two-day event in Olds, now in their fourth year, they are hosting five events running a total of 13 days in Olds, Stettler, Red Deer and Camrose. “The response from studios has been overwhelming and we were able to expand our events with much support from the dance community in Alberta,” Kristi Bennett said. “Word of mouth has been the biggest factor in our growth; we strive to create and offer top-notch events that leave lasting positive impressions on our participants, and that is the biggest business builder we can possibly ask for.”

Speaking about how the landscape of dance has changed over the years, both directors said that dance has evolved a great deal since their own studio days.

“Like any art form, it’s always growing, changing, developing. New styles and disciplines of dance are always emerging over the horizon and it’s incredible to experience,” Leibel commented. “One of the biggest changes we’ve notice is the level and caliber of dancing; advanced steps that we learned in our high school years are now being executed by middle grade school dancers it’s exciting to see the development of skills and technique as dance continues to grow.”

According to the dance directors, Leibel and Bennett, the festival is for the kids, because they want the dancers of today to create and have memories that last longer than medals.

“It’s about the performance, not the podium,” Bennett explained. “We hope we instill a sense of pride and accomplishment in every single dancer we meet; and offer them something that they can carry with them for years to come.”

Rhonda Gillrie of Stettler’s Danceology studio said that she was happy about how the festival went.

“I am very pleased that my dancers showed proper decorum, applauding for those in rehearsal hall, commenting when they liked costumes and routines, and working really hard within their solos and group routines,” Gillrie noted.

After taking a break from classes during Spring Break, Gillrie has been worried about their return, not to classes but to the competition stage.

“But it didn’t take long for the Danceology dancers to get their heads in the game,” Gillrie commented, laughing. “I was once again overwhelmed with the care of each other my dancers showed the older ones taking care of the younger ones, the younger ones looking up to the older ones.”

“Dinner Anyone,” a ballet routine from Danceology was the top ballet mark of the festival and according to Gillrie, Danceology performers held their own walking off the stage with the plaque about 50 per cent of the time.

“It was great to see fellow studio owners and dance teachers chatting back stage and offering each other support,” Gillrie added. “All in all, the dancers did what they like to do, perform, and perform well. What is better than that?”

Just Posted

Update on fatal shooting near Stettler

Police say officer dragged before shooting

Watch: Gravel truck turns into wrong off-ramp at Highway 2 Ponoka

The new Highway 2 and Highway 53 intersection at Ponoka caused some confusion for one driver

Stettler armed robber convicted in court Oct. 12

Jayson Marshall gets over two years in jail

CORRECTED Donalda Creamery plans on tap Oct. 23

Architects to answer public’s questions about plans

WATCH: ASIRT investigating officer-involved shooting during crime spree

Shots fired on two occasions during incidents, one suspect remains in hospital with serious injuries

VIDEO: Tragically Hip singer-songwriter Gord Downie dies at 53

Downie had been fighting brain cancer for over a year

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Most Read

Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.