Deas Island Dance is on the move.
The dance studio will be moving into a new 8,000-square-foot performing arts facility at Tsawwassen Commons. The facility will include five state-of-the-art studios.
“Our school is continuing to grow each year and we have simply outgrown our current location,” said director Lesley Benham. “It is very exciting to see our community embracing performing arts so enthusiastically and we are thrilled to be able to create a home for young dancers and performers in South Delta.”
Benham said during 22 years at its current location in Ladner, students and teachers have been part of a number of individual and collective achievements, scholarships and awards.
Many alumni have carried on in dance-related fields studying, performing, choreographing and teaching. Graduates have seen opportunities with such schools and companies as The National Ballet of Canada, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Disney Cruise Lines, Lamondance and Martha Graham 2.
Recently, four students successfully auditioned for international summer programs.
Emma Tomlinson is returning for her second program at the Royal Ballet School in London, England, while Callea Savady is returning for her second summer at The National Ballet of Canada in Toronto. Ariel Priebe and Ingrid Parker have both been accepted to the Alberta Ballet School in Edmonton.
“There is a lot of schools trying out for these positions, so it’s quite an achievement for all of them,” said Benham.
She attributes the continued success of their dancers to the incredible teamwork at Deas Island Dance.
Benham said students, teachers, parents and administration work together to ensure each dancer has a rewarding experience.
“Success for me is not just do the dancers get a career out of this, but what else do they get out of their dance training,” she said. “Students gain so much from dance, including commitment, cognitive and emotional development, confidence, creativity, perseverance, respect, resilience as well as lifelong friendships.
“The bonds that these dancers form is incredible. It’s a commitment that they give balancing academics and their training, but we offer full-time and part-time classes. I really enjoy that about the school because there really is a place for everyone.”
Benham said the new facility at Tsawwassen Commons will result in more opportunities for local students from preschool to pre professional programs as well as an expanded adult dance program.
“We will continue to offer top notch dance and performing arts programming for all students,” she said. “We are so excited for the future and to have a truly professional facility for our students and teachers to call home.”