Dance Lab leaps into action at the Point 

Ongoing classes for dancers of all abilities offered by Trish Halsey Belsham

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Veteran dance teacher Trish Halsey Belham.
  • Photo submitted
  • Veteran dance teacher Trish Halsey Belham.

Dancer artist Trish Halsey Belsham wants to start a new movement in Whistler.

A veteran dance instructor, Halsey Belsham is launching a Dance Lab at the Point Artists Run Centre on Alta Lake.

The lab will teach the fundamentals of dance as an art form, looking at trance dance, hip hop, jazz and modern dance.

"It's open to people of all levels. Guys are welcome," she says, adding that dance helps those in sports.

"I wanted to extend that invitation to men, for sure... when I used to live, work and teach in Vancouver, an elite soccer team hired me to come in and take a look at soccer players... we brought about, in some ways, a different perception about the body and how certain warm-ups, stretches and dance can actually serve them and support them.

"Regardless of any sport, dance really moves in there technically with good bio-mechanics and exercises to release tension for better flow which helps the body move through space with less tension."

The class will be ongoing on Wednesdays, starting Nov. 5, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The first four classes cost $60 or a $20 drop-in fee, with preregistration at www.thepointartists.com.

"They will learn the fundamental techniques that apply to all the genres we are going to explore," Halsey Belsham says.

"It's for those with an interest in dance not so much as a competitive activity, but as an art form for expression."

A Pemberton resident for three years, she has taught at studios and schools throughout B.C. and the U.S., and is a retired dancer who had her own company, Extreme Shoe, in Vancouver. This will be a first-time collaboration with the Point.

Previously, Halsey Belsham has been part of the Pemberton Cultural Roundtable. She has also provided cover for Whistler's LB Productions, where she taught children's dance and choreographed some of their shows.

Halsey Belsham likes what the Point stands for.

"I find the Point to be a really creative space and a creative atmosphere with the other artists involved," she says.

The building itself, a lakeside older wood house, has all sorts of benefits, too.

"Wood floors are hard to come by, for one thing. Being the natural fibre it is, wood moves. It is this great old building, how it was built really supports the integrity of the body. No concrete underneath that imposes itself on the muscle tissue. That's important," Halsey Belsham says.

"I think it's exciting to see what Stephen (Vogler, who runs the Point) is up to in terms of utilizing all the space in the building, outside on the grass. It's a very creative approach to creation in the space and could have a profound effects on the dancers."

In the New Year, Halsey Belsham intends to form a performing troupe.

"I'm going to take the dancers into potential collaborations on multidisciplinary projects, working with writers, musicians and actors who also present in their work at the Point," she says.

"I think it's really exciting.

Halsey Belsham hopes to make multidisciplinary pieces for performance in the future through this new lab.

"A look at the appetite for cultural conversation and I think it is something that is a burgeoning art form here, that kind of collaboration between movement and non-movement, painters with dancers. That's a very interesting conversation to have and I have a lot of ideas around that that I would love to explore with people who want to move," she says.

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