The Free Elements Dance Company presented their 2nd annual Follow Your Heart show at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre on Feb. 3.
Dozens of young dancers performed to a variety of music from jazz to hip-hop, pop and classical. All outfitted on stage in costumes that alluded to the scene their dance was set to.
“We like to do the show in February because it’s Valentine’s time and we want to express our love for dance and share it with our community,” says Jessica Ames, co-owner and co-director of Free Elements Dance Company.
“Our audience just loves it. I think they’re amazed by how much we can do with so little time.”
As a competitive dance studio, Free Elements often has to travel far for competitions — which can add up quickly. The Follow Your Heart show, named in lieu of pursuing one’s passions, was put on as a fundraiser to raise money for the upcoming dance events this year.
“We have a few dancers going to Quesnel mid-way through February and then we’re going to Nanaimo down south for a dance competition,” Ames says. “We’re flying there, so it’s going to be a bit pricier than our northern competitions.”
The Prince George Dance Festival and the Pacific Northwest Music Festival, hosted in Terrace each year, are also on their agenda.
The performances in the show are a few examples of some of the pieces that the dancers are working on for their competitions.
But it isn’t just to help ease costs, Ames says that they also put on the show to help their dancers ease their nerves and learn how to enjoy performing without the evaluations.
“We love to do the show because it gives a different energy than doing competitions. It gives them the chance to know how to prepare when the stress is a little bit higher.”
Dancer Renya Brouwer, 16, says that being able to go on stage is the best part of dancing for her.
“You just get this feeling, this energy. When you’re in the studio, it’s not the same [as] performing for other people,” says Renya.
“It makes you have this other persona. I’m usually a lot more reserved but on stage, I have this sassiness.”
The Free Elements Dance Company will be participating in the Pacific Northwest Music Festival in Terrace that runs from Mar. 28-Apr. 13.