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Members of Lac La Biche dance club enjoy wins at Edmonton-based competition

LAC LA BICHE - A group of 60 young dancers from Lac La Biche’s Northern Beat Dance Academy recently brought their dance skills to a competition in Edmonton. Several came home with wins in group, duet, and solo categories.  

The four-day dance competition, called ‘Standing Ovation’, took place from April 18-21 at the Myer Horowitz Theatre at the University of Alberta.  

Mariah Stromquist, the lead instructor for Northern Beat, said the local dancers, who represented a variety of styles, competed in 74 routines during the event, which featured dancers from clubs across the province performing 800 routines 

Categories are divided by experience and age levels, with. These range from beginner and novice level to beginning, intermediate and advanced. Dancers compete in three divisions.  

Northern Beat advanced dancer Amri McKay, who performed a jazz solo, won a scholarship that will see the 16 year old J.A. Williams High School student learn with Motive Dance and Fitness in Edmonton. Seven-year old London Miller, who recently took up dancing, placed fourth overall in her hip-hop solo category while Brooke Byers placed fifth in her tap routine.  

Oakley Brownlie, Kaicey Colosimo, Ayda Lavallee, Braylin Thompson and Addison Zatorski, who are between the ages of 8-10 and are in the novice category, performed a routine called Unchangeable Love, which had the highest scoring routine of the dance-off for division one dancers that took place after the regular competition had concluded.  

Stromquist said the dancers who went to the competition did a fantastic job, considering they faced some tough competition from larger centres, including dancers from the Edmonton School of Ballet.   

“It was pretty challenging, but they held their own quite well,” she said.  

The Northern Beat dance season begins in August, so the end-of season competition saw the local participants coming to the stage with a lot of practice time behind them.  Most kids who do the competitive side of dance, she said, are training in excess of six hours a week, while others devote 15 hours or more per week to their art. The dancers train in a variety of styles, including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and contemporary as well as doing conditioning, flexibility and strength training.  

Before the season concludes, Stromquist continued, the club will be participating in one more competition, called Evergreen, which is set to take place at the festival centre in Sherwood Park from May 2-5.  


Chris McGarry

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