The show might only be 45 minutes long, but the Royal Bay secondary dance academy’s winter performance promises to pack a lot into a short time.
Jazz, contemporary and lyrical styles will be the focus of the performance for the academy’s 92 students across 12 separate numbers.
“It’s the repertoire we’ve built so far to date. We usually have a two-hour show at the end of June and at this point in the year we show what we’ve got,” noted Leanne Harrington, dance academy director.
The work of three different choreographers will be featured, including Harrington; Robyn White, who also teaches at the academy; and Julia Barrett, a dance instructor from the Boston Dance Collective in Victoria. Performers include students from Grade 9 through Grade 12.
Variety is key to building an exciting program, according to Harrington, and the three different styles that the students have been working on allow for a nice mix that’s sure to entertain the audience.
“You try to switch it up as best as you can,” she said.
Audiences will move with the dancers through fast, moderate and slow movements, keeping them on their toes. Later in the year, the academy will add hip hop and tap to their repertoire, adding a whole new dimension.
“Those elements take you faster, so you’ll have more of that up and down; nice slow pieces to high-energy pieces,” she said.
The jazz piece will provide the winter show with its high-energy sections, while the contemporary and lyrical elements are slower and more methodical.
“Jazz is going to be more upbeat for the audience, they’re going to notice a lot more energy, more stylistic movements,” Harrington said. “With lyrical, its roots are based on sort of a cross between ballet (and jazz).”
The contemporary pieces, choreographed by Barrett, are more in line with what people might see from a modern dance company.
While the performance isn’t Christmas-themed, performers will take their bows to Christmas music and Christmas costumes will be donned at the end of the show to give the evening a dose of holiday spirit.
Each student enrolled in the academy dances for 80 minutes per day, five days a week for the entire school year. That practice time sparks a lot of improvement among the dancers and most are with Harrington for four years.
“It obviously lends itself to a lot of development in terms of their flexibility, so they see a lot of gains there, and in terms of their technique development. We move through a number of different units,” she said.
“Specific to each genre there’s different technical elements and they work on those until they move on to a new genre of dance.”
For a chance to see what the academy has accomplished so far this year, bring five food items (or $5) to Royal Bay’s Teechamitsa Theatre on Dec. 13. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 7.