It is difficult to pin this lady down.
She is always so busy scurrying from one engagement to another. Whether it is a dance class, a meeting or a rehearsal, she always seems to be on the run. I am lucky, however, and manage to squeeze in a quick interview with Andrea Simpson-Fowler, artistic director and owner of Leaping Feats Creative Danceworks.
It is that time of year again and the school is a buzz of energy as students prepare for their year-end dance spectacle.
The name of the show is Dancing Through Life. Simpson-Fowler explains, “I feel like the program I have at the school can help students develop life skills through dance.
“By making dance a part of their lives, dancers can, in return, give back to the community just as the community can give support to dance. Our year-end performance is a showcase of our year’s work.”
There are several different categories within the dance program at Leaping Feats Creative Danceworks and each one supports the other: there is the recreational program, which is geared to training dancers of all ages. Dancers can take as many or as few classes as they wish.
There is the repertory program where dancers must dance four and a half to 10 hours a week.
Extremely Moving is the school’s dance company and Groundwork Sessions is the school’s breakdancing troup.
“We have a lot of dancers,” says Simpson-Fowler. “We have too many dancers to have backstage at the Yukon Arts Centre at one time. Because of fire code regulations, we have to rent the Yukon College gym as our backstage when we put on our year-end show.”
Simpson-Fowler is really excited this year about the school’s extended ballet program: “The senior dancers take eight and a half hours of ballet classes a week. We have an amazing ballet teacher, Aubrey Walker, who has been working with the dancers.”
Walker, most recently from the Santa Barbara School of Classical Ballet, comes to Leaping Feats with a plethora of dance and teaching experience.
“We will be performing two classical ballet pieces, Waltz of the Flowers and a piece Aubrey calls, Snow, from Tchaikovski’s Nutcracker.”
The showcase will also include many other dance styles such as jazz, hip hop, contemporary and breakdancing.
The repertory dancers will perform contemporary dances choreographed by guest choreographer, Joanne Pesusich from The Sourse Contemporary Dance Company in Vancouver; hip hop pieces choreographed by Kim Sato from Vancouver; and musical theatre numbers choreographed by guest artist Kelsey Chase and resident dance teacher, Jessica Hickman.
There are five graduating students this year: Alya Graham, Kaylee Freeman, Claire deBrun, Chandler Smith and Teneil Caron. Each grad will have the opportunity to perform a solo dance.
Freeman will be attending the University of Calgary dance program in September, deBrun will be attending the Simon Fraser University dance program and Graham will be in France taking dance classes.
Simpson-Fowler is very proud of the girls. Of course, she is proud of her many other dancers as well.
Although she may appear to be a little tired at this time of year, she just beams when she talks about the school and its programs. Running such a diversified and extensive program is no small feat.
There will be several different performances of Dancing Through Life at the Yukon Arts Centre. Shows on Friday, May 28, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, May 29, at 1 p.m., will showcase the recreational dance program.
Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, at 7 p.m., will be the repertory shows. Tickets are available at Arts Underground and the YAC Box Office.