Laura Elliot of the Creator’s Arts Center Dance School in Kelowna has done all she can to ensure her dancers can escape the pandemic and continue to express themselves safely both online and in person.
“During COVID, that became a big part that I discussed with teachers, was how to keep students connected and students talking to each other and how to keep dancing,” 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 amidst public health orders that left many alone and isolated.
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“It’s also a creative outlet, so you can express any feeling – sad, anxious and angry,” said 15-year-old dancer Mia Stokes.
“You can express these feelings through dance without having to express your feelings. Normally I don’t talk about my feelings, but being able to dance with my body this way has always been very helpful to me.
For 14-year-old Maddi Ireland, taking a dance class helps her overcome her anxiety.
“If I’m anxious, I love to come and dance. I just feel a lot better because I can express myself differently, it really helped me in school because I don’t have to just think about grades and work all the time, ”said Ireland.
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The efforts of Elliot and his team provided a lifeline for students and their parents.
“Coming back to the studio was huge,” said Nikki Stokes, Mia’s mom. “[Mia] I just came back to life and honestly, I appreciate it even more because not having it, she says, “Mom, I need to dance.”
Elliot even became a role model for his students, leading by example to help nurture the next generation of confident and talented dancers.
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