Leah Moen-Garcia opened the Dance Studio on Main Street on April 17, 2012 and has been bringing the spirit of dance to the community of Oliver ever since. A dancer since the age of 2 and a half, there is no doubt that dancing is her life’s passion.
“I started assistant teaching at age 12, and teaching my own classes by the age of 15,” Leah said, “and my daughter Kristina is doing the same, in fact she started even younger than me, helping me out with the younger classes when she was just 8.” Leah’s son Joey is also very much involved in dance, “You just can’t stop us from dancing,” Leah said.
After a year of classes beginning in September, all of the students’ hard work was culminated in their recital ‘United We Dance’; which took place Friday, June 21st at the Osoyoos Mini Theatre. The Show was completely sold out, and couldn’t have been a bigger success.
“It couldn’t have run more smoothly,” said Leah. “All of the kids did exactly what they needed to, and all of the parents…you couldn’t have had such a big production go any smoother.”
“The Dance Studio’s year end performance was one where talent and passion collided onstage to produce an affair of true beauty and grace,” said Denise Janzen-Crowley, whose daughter Mya danced in 5 numbers. “What a great opportunity our community has now that the Dance Studio has opened. Leah is an extremely talented dance instructor, and her love for the art is evident in all that she does.”
There were 56 students performing 28 numbers, showcasing everything jazz to ballet, contemporary to tap and everything in between. The students are ages 3 to 55, and have been rehearsing daily since June.
The majority of the numbers were choreographed by Leah herself, and there are also over twenty parent volunteers that have helped to make a show of this scale a reality.
Awards were handed out in the various age groups and styles, with recognition going to Kayla Koteles, Jessa Vernon-Wood, and Laura Harty for Tiny Toes; Sazge Carlson for Ballet; Patricia Lameiras for Jazz; Martina Horvath-Schick for Hip Hop; Connie Mythen for Tap and Dayna Ingbritson-Hunt for Musical Theatre. Cadence Jenson won the award for Lyrical/Modern, and Parent of the Year went to Kristina Moen.
The award for studio spirit went to Joey Decker, the Lioness award for bravery went to Kristina Decker, and the Top Technician award went to Larissa Ingbritson-Hunt, who was also honored as Dancer of the Year.
The season ended with the recital, but that doesn’t mean there is no dance in Oliver this summer! There are two summer camps, for kids 6-8, and these take place July 15-19 and August 12-16. Be sure to register your kids as soon as possible, as spots are filling up fast.
There will be a focus on ballet, jazz and hip hop, as well as outdoor activities, and crafts.
The Dance Studio will also be hosting adult classes on Tuesday evenings and morning yoga classes, a form that Leah calls ‘dance-yoga’.
“People seem to really like it because it’s more geared towards body alignment and posture which are key focuses in dance, we strive to train all the major muscle groups every class, with a sharp focus on the core muscles,” Leah explained.
Those classes will run June 26 to August 24, Wednesday to Saturday in the mornings at a variety of locations, once a week in Osoyoos and three times a week in Oliver.
Dance is a fun way to get fit and coordinated, an exercise for the mind, body and soul. It can also be part of an active lifestyle that the whole family can participate in. For more information, you can also visit the website at www.thedancestudio.name.
By Tiffany Beckedorf
Special to the Chronicle