Dance Blast to welcome hundreds to P.A. this week

The E.A. Rawlinson Centre. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Over 500 dancers from 11 studios will be descending on the E.A. Rawlinson Centre this week for their first taste of competition in 2020.

The seventh annual Dance Blast begins Thursday and runs through Sunday, over 600 performances will be seen by the two adjudicators. Performances are open to the public.

“We’re an early competition so it’s the first of the season for the studios coming,” explained Derrick Smith, the president of the Dance Blast organizing committee.

“It’s a nice warm-up. We’re based on a fun philosophy.”

Unlike other competitions where dancers may compete against each other, medals at Dance Blast are awarded based on final marks. For example, everyone who gets a mark of 90 or higher will receive a gold star ranking.

“It’s a competition,” Smith said, “But you’re competing against yourself. You’re competing to get some adjudication and feedback, to get ready for the rest of the competition season. To get out, have some fun and see where things are all at.”

Adjudicators will also give out awards for the most outstanding of each group at each age category. This year, the event got extra funding, so they’ll be able to give away awards to groups that show potential.

“If there was something in that dance they liked or something the adjudicators saw,” they might hand out that award, Smith said.

“The award is based on what they brought to the stage more than the mark.”

Over $10,000 in awards will be handed out over the three and a half days. They’ll be used for Scholarships and to further dance training. Dancers can use the awards for tuition or for different camps throughout the region.

Studios are coming from Tisdale, Melfort, Birch Hills, Aberdeen, Rosthern, Nipawin, Carrot River, Cudworth, Shellbrook and Prince Albert. Smith said he believes this year will be the first for Aberdeen.

While dancers are encouraged to watch other performers, others can pay admission of $7 per session, $20 per day or $50 for a weekend. A canteen will also be available. Tickets are available at the door.

“The dancers are able to go in and watch,” Smith said. “They compete against each other every year so they have a lot of friendships they make with the dancers from the other studios. It’s a chance to see their friends again.

“The focus is that fun, the start of the competition season to get everyone on stage in front of the adjudicators and bring what they’ve been working onto the stage for the first time.”

More information is available on the PAW Dance Blast Facebook page.