People travelled from communities near and far to pack the Stettler Performing Arts Centre (PAC) as Rhonda McCulloch Danceology and William E. Hay Fine Arts Board came together to host the second annual Dancing from the Heart competition Friday and Saturday, March 18-19.
The powerful performances featured a a variety of dance sequences from hip hop to ballet.
“We combine my dance experience with William E. Hay’s camera and computer expertise and it is a win-win,” said Rhonda Gillrie, Danceology studio director and lead instructor. “Dance teachers begin their season in the preceding season, shooting music and creating ideas of how they would like the dance to be.”
In September, once the students register, instructors begin to coach the “technical aspects, the new steps and loves.”
“We then set the choreography on the dancers and begin to practice to make our moves as precise as possible in our groups, and choose costumes, hair styles, make-up, shoes and performance qualities for our dancers,” explained Gillrie. “We do our best to inspire our dancers to dig deep and go far all the while being their amazing selves.”
Performing alongside Stettler’s Danceology, which has students from various communities as far as Delburne and Bashaw, were other academies — Norazz from Provost, Danceworkz from Sylvan Lake, Alix Dance Club from Alix and Hanna Dance Association from Hanna.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Gillrie. “The sponsorship and donations in kind to the event from parents, and family members, community leaders, and from the dance clubs themselves have been simply amazing.”
There were more than 90 special awards presented to dancers from all the clubs and more than 100 on-stage awards.
“Each club was well rewarded for their achievements for the weekend and I’ve already got such positive feedback from those in attendance that the dance clubs are thrilled, the fine arts board is thrilled and I am thrilled,” added Gillrie. “The dancers were a complete inspiration to watch.”
The adjudicator of this year was Tara Pickford, who owns her own dance studio, Ambition Performing Arts Inc., out of Calgary.
According to Gillrie, Pickford said she loved the competition and enjoyed the performances of each of the dancers, no matter the training or the age.
“She was excited to see those who visited the stage often and grew in each of their performances each time they came on stage,” said Gillrie. “It was a great success.”