Laura Elliot of Creator’s Arts Centre Dance School in Kelowna has gone out of her way to make sure that her dancers can escape the pandemic and continue to express themselves safely both online and in person.
“Over the course of COVID, that became a huge part I’ve discussed with the teachers, was how to keep the students connecting and the students talking to each other and how do we keep the dancing going,” said Elliot, artistic director.
The physical art form kept the dancers in shape, got them out of the house and helped them improve their mental health amid public health orders that left many feeling lonely and isolated.
“It’s a creative outlet as well, so you can express any feelings: sad, anxious and angry,” said Mia Stokes, 15-year-old dancer.
“You can express those feelings through dance without having to speak your feelings. I don’t normally talk about my feelings, but being able to dance with my body in that way has always been super helpful for me.”
For 14-year-old Maddi Ireland, attending dance class helps her work through anxiety.
“If I’m anxious, I just love coming to dance. I just feel a lot better because I can express myself differently, it’s definitely helped me with school because I don’t have to think about just grades and working all the time,” said Ireland.
Elliot and her team’s efforts provided a lifeline for both students and their parents.
Elliot has even become a role model for her students, leading by example to help encourage the next generation of confident, talented dancers.