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Second annual dance recital draws cheers for Unity group

STAND OUT Dance Collective ends the dance season with amazing talent at second annual recital.

UNITY – Oohs and aahs filled the UCHS gymnasium during the STAND OUT Dance Collective’s second annual recital on May 10 and 11.

With 67 dancers gracing the stage in vibrant costumes, the audience was treated to a variety of dance styles including jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and acro. Other special performances included an en pointe ballet group number called “Learning to Dance in the Rain”, which was choreographed by studio owner Courtney Smith, and the musical theatre number “Naughty,” choreographed by Madison Gilbert.

As the evening carried on, it was quite evident each dancer was excited to perform and loved being on the stage. While most of the SODC dancers were able to take to the stage, not all students were allowed. Taylor Sernecky had dislocated her knee during the Catch a Rising Star competition in Drumheller, Alta. She had followed medical orders of rest and no dance since, which allowed her to complete her dance season on stage with two low-impact performances.

Many of the dancers who performed received awards throughout the competition season. At the Spring Stars Dance Festival in Saskatoon, Rowyn Martin received the top-scoring three-star solo for her jazz solo while her sister, Kendyl Martin, received the top-scoring two-star solo for her jazz solo. Mikaela Hennings, Eden Fawell, Rowyn, Kendyl and Keira Schumack all received scholarships.

The awards continued at Catch a Rising Star, where SODC received the top studio mark for the stage appearance category, Rowyn and Keira tied for the SODC top studio score marks with their jazz and self-choreography solos respectively. Rowyn also received a rising soloist scholarship. At Dance Invasion in Medicine Hat, "Fly as Me" received the top overall duo/trio mark of the competition. Rowyn also received a scholarship to a dance workshop, and the Grade 2/3 tap routine "All Shook Up" placed fourth in the Dance Invasion Dance Off with the top mark routines in each age group.

The last competition for SODC was Infusion Dance Festival in Lloydminster. There, Keira received the top solo mark of the competition for her acro solo, "Fly as Me" received the top overall duet mark, "Bad Dream" received the top overall trio mark, and our lyrical large group routine "Pretty" received the top overall lyrical routine mark of the competition.

Three lucky dancers were also awarded the opportunity for solo performances next year. Sponsored by dance parents, Gary and Arisa Hennings, the three winners were Kaysen Shirley, Emily Melnyk and Taylor Sernecky.

Honoured at the recital were the two students who will be graduating this year, Grace Heck and Thea Witzaney. Along with the graduates, the studio will also be saying goodbye to instructors Cori Udell, Myah Strueby and Shelby Martin.

“All three ladies will be moving to Calgary to pursue schooling and other opportunities. As for next year, the 2024/2025 season staff has already been solidified. We have three new and amazing individuals to welcome into our SODC family this fall,” said Smith.