Ballet in the mountains

Dance academy opens at gym

This fall a new generation of dancers will be born in the mountains. The Sun Peaks Dance Academy opened in September, offering different types of dance including ballet, jazz and contemporary.

Artistic director Karen Mallinson decided to open the school after moving to Sun Peaks this year. Mallinson grew up in the United Kingdom, she began dancing at age three and went on to train with the Royal Academy of Dance and attend formal dance college in Manchester. She completed extensive training in teaching dance before working from the U.K, to Abbotsford, B.C., including performing on cruise ships in between.

When Mallinson and her family moved to Canada they lived in the Fraser Valley, where she taught pre-professional programs. In June the family made the jump to Sun Peaks.

“We love it up here,” Mallinson said. “We love the community feel, we love how everybody supports each other and we love how diverse the community is.

“I wanted to introduce the performing arts to the community. There’s not much going on up here for dance.”

The classes will take place at Black Beaver Athletic and are open to any level of dancer.

“I’m just learning what the community wants, hopefully we’re going to have something for everyone. The primary focus will be on ballet as it’s a very important foundation to get into other dance styles.”

Classes will start with “Mummy and Me” lessons for children from walking to three-years-old and progress into pre-school classes to tween and teen programs and finally adults.

Children’s classes will be based in ballet and have discipline, she said, but will still be fun and focused on music. Adult classes will be based on a mix of hip hop, jazz and contemporary which Mallinson called street jazz.

“I’d like it to become a family oriented place where kids can learn about the dance world and create team spirit, where we all work together.”

Mallinson said no previous experience is necessary but students should come with an open mind ready to learn and enjoy.

For more information visit Sun Peaks Academy of Dance on Facebook or email sunpeaksacademyofdance@gmail.com.

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