Keerstin Arden auditions her dance moves for the Royal Bay Advanced Dance Academy for the 2015-2016 school year. Auditions for more than 40 dancers were held at Dunsmuir school on February 9

Think you can dance? Try Royal Bay

Academy hopefuls show their dance chops ahead of new school year in Colwood

Amid a flurry of spins and jumps, three judges write feverishly on pads of paper.

What to the onlooker appears as a painfully flexible stretch leads to a controlled spin, then to leaping splits and turns in the air. Some dancers smile, others are focused, others still have a look of concentration befitting final exams. For some it almost is, as 43 students audition at Dunsmuir middle school for a spot in next year’s advanced dance academy.

“It’s an outlet, like so many other things,” said Belmont dance instructor Leanne Harrington.

“Some find football is their niche, or for some students the arts is their niche. They need something to keep them engaged. Dance class, for (some) students I see as their vehicle of expression.”

Ironically, Belmont’s established dance academy, featuring a mix of jazz, tap, ballet, modern, contemporary and hip hop stylings, shifts to Royal Bay secondary when the two new high schools open next fall, and these auditions serve as the first for the program.

“I see dance as becoming more mainstream. People are watching on TV and YouTube and expectations are higher now than when I was their age, when there were two clubs in Victoria and now there are probably 20,” Harrington said.

A total of 79 students applied for the program starting next year. Those dancers being put through their paces last week at Dunsmuir middle school aimed to secure a spot in the advanced class, while an open class will also be available for anyone to participate in, without an audition.

Similar to sports academies, the cost is approximately $1,000 per year, but bursaries are available for those with financial barriers.

Judging from the registrations, the numbers will be up from the 50 participants Harrington had this year. While the program is still in its relative infancy, it’s a great outlet for youth in the community, she said.

“It may just be something that gives them that mental health they can’t find elsewhere … It’s different for everyone. They are with me with 80 minutes and they can spend that 80 any way they see fit,” she said.

“(For some) it may be the only thing that keeps them in school. Some are just hanging on and (this is) keeping them in and (looking) towards their goal.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

Langford could soon be seeing its first retail cannabis store

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. gets province’s approval

West Shore fundraiser serves up hope for kids with food allergies

Proceeds assist Oral Immunotherapy Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read