With in-person performing arts dulled as the pandemic churns on, an Okotoks dance school wants to see talent shine.
In lieu of youth being able to compose in-person performances and dance routines, Heart to Sole Danceworks is holding an online talent search.
The lack of ability for children to create and their existence being transformed into distanced classes and zoom meetings has weighed heavily on them, said Heart and Sole vocal coach Stacy Zimmer.
“We just saw a decline in our students' mental health,” Zimmer said. “A year ago, they were coming in and they were excited, and they just exuded passion.
“Throughout the year, we started to see a decline in energy and motivation, and just a very low spirit.
“We just felt like so much has been taken away from these kids in a year.”
Her hope is the chance to perform stokes the soul.
“What can we do to help them shine again?, she said.
Zimmer sent studio owner Erin Kerr-Trethart the following message: “We can't take the kids to the stage, but what if we can bring the stage to our local youth?
“We could virtually ignite their passion, and re-establish that energy that we had seen previous to the pandemic.”
Kerr-Trethart took to the idea as a means of helping the youth.
“We started talking about things that we could do to to sort of cheer them up,” because as much as we'd like to be you know trained therapists we are not,” Kerr-Trethart said in an interview.
The talent search will give them a chance to reach a wider range of young people too.
“We know there's lots of other talents that the kids have suffered loss of and we wanted to take the opportunity to showcase that.”
The creative process can be uplifting, Zimmer added in an interview.
“We all know when we have a goal to work towards, it can light us on fire,” she said. “Within the Foothills community, we have some insane talent out here.”
The studio isn't just looking for dancers either, but anyone who has something to show the world.
“Whatever your talent is: Do you juggle? Do you sing? Do you dance? Do you shoot a mean slap shot? Can you tell us some great jokes?," she said.
The requested format for submissions is a video with a brief introduction.
“We want to know who you are, how old you are, what your talent is, why you chose that talent,” Zimmer said.
In addition, contestants may choose for their work to be viewable on the dance school’s social media page for public viewing for an added fans choice award.
“So ask your friends to like, share, and comment.”
The works will be judged by celebrity judges, prominent figures in the community with an eye for performance.
Zimmer added that the school is still seeking one or two more judges for its panel.
Top prize is $500 and a radio appearance on the Eagle 100.9.
Local businesses are also fronting swag for prizes.
The talent show is open from April 1 to 26 to anyone ages 5 to 19. There is a $20 entry fee. For more information go to www.hearttosoledanceworks.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 403-995-9630.