Essay by Jenna Fewer: How DANCE has evolved in my community

How Dance has evolved in my community
by Jenna Fewer, Generation Dance Studio
Winner of the 2013 Talented Angels Dance Scholarship



When I look around Generation Dance Studio, it is plain to see that many things have changed over the course of twelve years when I took my first dance class. Perhaps it’s different now that I’m graduating, but I see dance, and the people within the studio in a whole new light. I’m not sure if the dancers have evolved, the dance itself has evolved or if it’s a mixture of both. The term evolution is technically defined as a change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation. Dance in Fort McMurray has gone from a simple step clap - step clap, to an elaborate high low calypso, switch russian, followed by twenty six fouette turns. Being enrolled in Generation Dance I have been able to experience the change first hand.

When I first was invited to competition our competitive team consisted of maybe twenty people and four groups. Today we are a family of 40 some odd kids and the amount of routines we enter into competition pretty much doubles any other studio. Not only has our competitive team grown, but there is so much talent in our studio that we’ve had to create another program which we call, "Steps".

Our little community grew from one studio, to two, to three, to four and so on. We have even been able to learn from teachers from other studios such as Mrs. Joanne, who so kindly took on the role of our ballet teacher for the past three years, which I am sure wasn’t such an easy job a lot of the time. We have opened our doors to so many new people and new dance studios such as Generation, Keyano Conservatory, Uptown, and Mi Dance Academy, along with all the ethnic dance that exists in Fort McMurray. We’ve gone from small shows inside the studio at what used to be our annual “Summer Dance Camp”, to huge shows put on for the community with forty huge props and sixty dedicated prop dads! We’ve taken classes and competed not only internationally with world renowned choreographers, but recently we have been able to do this, locally. Just this year, Fort McMurray has seen its very own dance competition, "Northern Dance Off". This event was a huge success and a leap in the growth of dance in our community. How cool was it to be able to sleep in your OWN bed after a long day of competing!?

Ten years ago dancers would never have been able to sing, dance, and act in musicals, but now look at us! We are “All Shook Up” in our very own “Hometown”.

From now on, when you think of the evolution of dance you can think way beyond the grown man making a fool out of himself doing the chicken and hamster dance on YouTube. You can think of a community, our community, which grew and changed into what it is today. Fort McMurray is full of talent and opportunity, like the wonderful and talented dance educator Julie Funk said, “There’s something in the water here that creates amazing dancers”. It will be interesting to see in another ten years time just where the dancers of Fort McMurray will be. After all, we are forever growing, changing and evolving as time goes on.

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